Sydney, Aug.11 (ANI): Noted cricket columnist Peter Roebuck believes that with Ricky Ponting at the helm, the Australian cricket team "is in good hands.
However, he says that Ponting still lacks intuition, but possess the ability to change tack.
In an article for the Sydney Morning Herald, Roebuck says that the final Ashes Test at The Oval will mean a lot to Ponting and his emerging, improving team, especially after their victory at Leeds to have the current series locked at one all.
"Ponting has come a long way in a few months. He has emerged as a fine leader, though not yet an astute tactician. Clearly he has the respect of his players and is relishing the opportunity to captain a bright young side. If 2008 was his worst year, 2009 has been the best," says Roebuck.
"Now, he (Ponting) stands on the edge of a substantial achievement. Holding the Ashes might not seem much of a feat. Not so long ago Australia beat this mob 5-0. Moreover the opposing side has lost its two best players. But Australia have endured numerous setbacks and still heads have not dropped. Nor has conduct deteriorated," he adds.
Recalling the acrimonious SCG Test against India in January 2008, Roebuck says that it t was a match that reeked of vengeance, not victory, ecstasy not euphoria. It was the ugliest Test Australia played for 25 years.
It led to past players and supporters voicing their dismay at the collapse of the game's dignity.
It also highlighted Ponting's refusal to talk to Anil Kumble and an arrogant disdain of history.
Then many patriotic Australians found it hard to be proud of their team, but now, Australia has reclaimed its cricket team.
"Whether it wins or loses at The Oval, Australians have been honourably represented.
Throughout the fourth Test the tourists played with vigour but without acrid posturing," says Roebuck.
"At the end of 2008, Australia ditched an ageing side and Ponting ditched his stubborn streak.
He took a new team to Africa and promptly took the spoils. Now, he has brought a hotchpotch of a side to England and survived a disappointment and a defeat to produce a stirring fight back," he concludes. (ANI)