Ponting motivated by bitter memories of Ashes agony
Ricky Ponting has warned England he is determined to erase the bitter memories of his last Ashes tour by leading Australia to victory over the old enemy.cricket Updated: Jun 19, 2009 19:04 IST
Ricky Ponting has warned England he is determined to erase the bitter memories of his last Ashes tour by leading Australia to victory over the old enemy.
Although Ponting's team will start the forthcoming series with the Ashes in their possession after victory on home soil in 2006-07, the Australia captain still recalls with some discomfort England's dramatic 2005 triumph.
Not even the 5-0 demolition of England two years ago could completely make up for being the captain when Australia surrendered the famous Ashes urn for the first time in 16 years.
The 34-year-old batsman knows that 2-1 defeat will be on his CV forever but he can at least partially make amends by handing England an equally painful defeat, starting with the first Test in Cardiff on July 8.
"There's one thing on my cricketing resume that hasn't been achieved yet, and that's being captain of a winning Ashes series in England," Ponting said.
"It's something very dear to my heart, and something I'll certainly be speaking to the players about - making sure we get over that hurdle."
Only four members of Australia's current squad were part of the 2005 group and Ponting believes that could be an advantage because they won't feel any negativity about facing Andrew Strauss's team.
"We all realised last time what mistakes we made and we also realised how great a Test series that was to be a part of," Ponting said.
"Even though we lost, it was probably the greatest Test series I've played in. I don't think there'll be any hangover from 2005.
"In 2005, we got off to a great start and then things slipped away from us from there. A lot of us have been there, and learned from our mistakes of last time and we're keen to rectify that."
Ponting was named man of the series in 2006-07 after scoring 576 runs at 82.28 as Australia became the first team in 86 years to achieve an Ashes clean sweep.
Whatever the scoreline this time few would bet against Ponting registering the three hundreds he requires to reach 40 at Test level.
Ponting regressed to mere mortal status through 2007, when he went 13 months without a Test century, while he was also relatively quiet this past winter.
But his pre-Ashes average of 56.20 is superior to that of any contemporary rival.
So it is perhaps no wonder that Australia's chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch has planned for his country's current captain to continue all the way to the end of the 2011 World Cup, regardless of the result against England.
"Leadership issues are things that we always think about but we are really confident that Ricky will be more than capable of getting through to the 2011 World Cup, and I know that is something he would like to do, so I don't see that as being an issue," Hilditch said.
"We have been very careful with managing his workload in the last three or four years.
"From time to time we will look at his workload, particularly on overseas tours and try and keep it to a manageable level, but for key events Ricky is always going to be a critical member of the side."