Ponting Criticises England Batting

The “Aussie captain slags off England players” story is not a new one, it has happened in the run up to every Ashes series for a generation. But this time round does Ricky Ponting have a point? Or is it just the first verbal volley in a pre-Test psychological battle?

The Aussies skipper has played in more Test wins than anyone else so he knows what he is talking about. He has pinpointed England’s batting line up as a potential weakness to exploit and people who are going to bet on the Ashes may want to bear his comments in mind.

“Kevin Pietersen, obviously, is a big question mark for them at the moment, Alastair Cook is just holding on to his spot by the skin of his teeth, and [Paul] Collingwood has probably not had the best Test summer of his life either,” he said.

“So there is enough happening around there to know that they will be a little nervous when they arrive in Australia.”

He has a point, all three have struggled for runs, especially Pitersen who has been under intense media scrutiny this past summer.

But one thing that Ponting isn’t considering is the motivation an Ashes series can provide and the battling qualities of the said trio. Cook, Pietersen and especially Collingwood are all fighters who have battled their way into form on several occasions in the past. The Aussies know this first hand after Collingwood’s Test saving innings in Cardiff in 2009.

They may have had poor summers but that is no guarantee of failure in Australia, though Ponting is obviously hoping to plant doubts in their minds ahead of the big kick off next month.

You also have to ask whether the Aussie bowlers are good enough to cause England consistent problems. Their main strike bowler, Mitchell Johnson, can be devastating but the 2009 series showed some mental flaws in his game that saw him concede rapid cheap runs. Ben Hilfenhaus is honest enough but can lack a cutting edge, while Dougie Bollinger will be making his Ashes debut. Anyone looking to bet on top England batsman should remember the Australian bowling attack isn’t what it once was.

Like years gone by I think Ponting is merely trying to out psyche England by exaggerating their weaknesses. In the past when he had the likes of Justin Langer, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath to back him up, those sort of comments would leave England quaking in their boots.

This time though Australia have enough problems of their own to worry about, meaning Strauss and co can dismiss Ponting’s comments and do their talking where it matters – on the field starting November 25th.


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