Getting a new Australia captain is like getting a new Doctor Who. It takes quite a while to get used to the new one because his face is all wrong.
As a captain, Ricky Ponting was both hugely admirable and a world-class tool. A Ricky Ponting interview normally features lots of plain speaking and references to the importance of Test cricket and this is both refreshing and reassuring. A fundamentally honest guy, there was a lot to like about Ponting at times like this.
On the pitch, his tooldom came to the fore, not least when decisions didn’t go his way. The dummy spittery could reach epic proportions and the infamous haranguing of Aleem Dar during this year’s Ashes was actually only the latest in a long line of incidents where he has had long conversations with umpires that seemed to be about how he was right and they were wrong. ‘Shut up and get on with the cricket’ was the phrase most used by viewers at home.
In terms of how he’s carried out the job in the last couple of years, it’ll be interesting to see how Michael Clarke fares. That’ll provide a basis for comparison. We suspect that Australia’s spin woes will recede just a touch, but we also don’t think Ponting was quite as bad a captain and man manager as many have been making out. International captaincy is a far-reaching and highly pressured job and you don’t last for as long as Ponting did without being half-decent at it.
Ricky Ponting is no longer the enemy figurehead. Now that we think about it, it’s not so much like getting a new Doctor Who as getting a new Darth Vader. Next hate figure please.