England's flawed policy gave us head start, claims Ponting

Ricky Ponting believes England's flawed selection policy at the start of the Ashes indicated to Australia that there was unrest among Andrew Flintoff's squad. Ponting, the Australian captain, was loath to criticise England during the 5-0 Ashes whitewash, preferring instead to talk about how well his own team were playing. But in a frank interview he admitted that he could not understand why England selected Geraint Jones and Ashley Giles ahead of Chris Read and Monty Panesar for the first Test in Brisbane.

"When England landed in Australia there had to be some sort of unrest in their camp," Ponting told BBC Radio Five Live. "When the guys landed, Read was the incumbent keeper, yet he was tapped on the shoulder and told that he was not going to take part in the series. Panesar was in exactly the same position with Giles coming back. I just felt that there had to be some unrest in their squad and I think that probably came through in their cricket.

"I was surprised Panesar didn't start and I couldn't really work out why Read didn't start, either. He certainly looks the part with the gloves and he did OK in the Pakistan series with the bat. At the end of the day, you have to pick your best players and in the last couple of Tests it became pretty apparent that Read is a better keeper than Jones. When those sort of things happen in a team, it unsettles a few players."

Duncan Fletcher and Flintoff, England's coach and captain, have been widely criticised for overlooking Panesar and Read at the start of the series, and the options they took have led to demands for a change in selection procedure on tour. On previous overseas tours, the selectors have picked the initial squad, then left it to the captain and coach to name the first XI.

But in Australia the views of the selectors in England were different to those of the captain and coach, the result being a change in policy. The discrepancy could lead to an independent selector travelling with the team and being responsible for the XI that is named. When asked to pick the pivotal moments of the Ashes, Ponting, who won the Allan Border medal yesterday as the country's best player in the past year, felt that Stephen Harmison's first ball in Brisbane, which went straight to Flintoff at second slip, highlighted England's inner fears.

"Harmison's first ball said a bit about how nervous he and England were," said Ponting. "The first ball of the first Test and the last day of the second Test were pretty significant. They were unbelievably good moments for the Australian team. They were the defining moments of the whole series. When a big moment came along, it was the Australian team that stood up.

"We had a lot of respect for England when they landed here. Their record in Test match cricket spoke for itself and they were the No 2 team in the world, and you don't get there unless you have played good cricket for a long period of time. We were expecting a tough challenge but we were ready. I could not have asked for more. It was a bit of a dream series for all of us really - to play the brand and style of cricket we did. We can all be pretty proud of the way we have applied ourselves over the past three months."

While England contemplate what to do with their coach, Cricket Australia yesterday revealed Tim Nielsen as the national side's new coach. Nielsen, the former South Australian wicketkeeper and head coach at Cricket Australia's centre of excellence in Brisbane, will succeed John Buchanan, who retires at the end of the World Cup.

"I'm incredibly proud, honoured and excited," said Nielsen. "This job represents a great opportunity to work with a fine group of players who are an excellent cricket team. Filling John Buchanan's shoes will be a big job. John is a leading light in cricket coaching globally and his record speaks for itself."

Ponting was equally pleased with the appointment. "On a personal level I'm delighted, having played against Tim and worked with him when he was assistant coach," he said. "We have an excellent working relationship and I'm looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead."

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style