Ponting blames coaching set up for Australian struggle to find ‘top-level’ players

Melbourne: Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting believes that not enough attention is being paid to the coaching in the country which might be the reason behind their struggle to find the top-level players.

The 43-year-old said that they need to look back in the time and understand how the coaching system has evolved and changed over the years.

“It’s been a topic of conversation for 20 years, about having the right people at the right places at the right times. Whether that’s the cricket academy (now absorbed into the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane) or the states, or the (under) 19s or 17s around the state set-up, I’m just not sure enough attention is being paid to coaching around Australia. I think it might be the reason why we’re struggling to find those (top-level) players now,” Cricket.com.auquoted Ponting, as saying.

“If you wind the clock back 20 years when some of these guys that are (now) playing international cricket or senior players in (Sheffield) Shield cricket, have a look who the coaches might have been around them at that stage and you’ll start to understand some of the reasons,” he added.

Ponting also revealed that he had agreed to take up the role of T20 coach of Australia after the end of the tenure of former coach Darren Lehman but the plan gets spoiled after the massive ball-tampering scandal in South Africa. Lehman had submitted an early resignation after the controversy and Justin langer was put in charge of the Australian team, afterwards.

“The plan was he (Lehmann) was going to continue on as Test and one-day coach, and I’d take over the entire T20 stuff. When he resigned, I just said to Justin straight away, ‘Mate, you have to take over all of these teams right now – you need to be the consistent person around the three formats with these players (and) if I can come in and help, then I’ll help where I can’,” Ponting said.

“Whether he (Langer) wanted it to be that way or not, that’s the way it had to be, but when I spoke to him straight away, he didn’t want to upset me and feel like he was taking a job away. At the same time, I knew he had to have those three jobs and those three roles,” he added.

Pointing further opined that Langer is “absolutely the man” to lead Australia in all the three formats of the game and one cannot find a better person to handle the position.

“You will not find a better guy to have in that position than Justin Langer. He’s as straight as an arrow, he’s disciplined, he’s hard working, he’s setting standards that the Australian team has probably never seen before with everything that he’s doing – it’s only a matter of time before the results start coming his way. The thing about him as well – he calls a spade a spade, but he’s quite a level person,” Ponting said.

Trailing the ongoing four-match Test series against India 0-1, Australia will take on the visitors in the second game from December 14 at the Perth Stadium.