Ponting praises coach Buchanan's input
Buchanan, 53, will stand down after the World Cup in the Caribbean in April and a search is underway for his replacement.Updated: Jan 01, 2007 18:43 IST
Australian captain Ricky Ponting has praised the work of coach John Buchanan for much of the team's success and believes his successor has an enormous role to fill.
While the headlines ahead of Tuesday's fifth and final Ashes Test against England have been dominated by the retirements of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer, Buchanan will also be the team coach for his last Test match.
Buchanan, 53, will stand down after the World Cup in the Caribbean in April and a search is underway for his replacement.
Ponting's supportive comments come after leading England batsman Kevin Pietersen claimed the Australian coach was not respected by his own team.
"He's not very well respected from what I can gather in the Australian ranks so I'm not going to worry too much about what he says," Pietersen said in a retort to Buchanan's claim this week that he was not a team player.
"He's going after the World Cup as well so that might be a good thing for Australia and for everybody."
Buchanan has the exceptional record of 68 wins in 89 Tests in charge, and having started with 15 successive victories in 1999-2001, could finish his coaching reign with 12 straight victories in the Sydney Test.
Ponting said Buchanan and his support staff had long been overlooked but deserved to share the team's achievements.
"They have to accept some of the accolades that come the team's way," the skipper said on Monday.
"You look at the standard of cricket that we've been able to play over a long period of time.
"Just before John took over and certainly right through his stint as coach we've played some amazing cricket.
"Even this current run, we've won 11 matches on the trot. That doesn't happen every day either.
"Absolutely the coach has got to take a lot of the credit for that.
"He's been coaching a very skilled and very talented team. What you've seen some of those players do has been a lot of the time pretty extraordinary, so he's got to take a lot of the credit for that."
Cricket Australia (CA) is likely to consider former Australian player Tom Moody, currently coaching Sri Lanka, and one of Buchanan's former assistant coaches Tim Nielsen to replace Buchanan.
Langer, who announced his Test retirement on Monday, also hailed Buchanan and described him as "the great visionary".
"I've learned so much from John Buchanan," Langer said.
"He's an outstanding person and an outstanding coach. His vision was monumental in the success we've had over the last few years."
SCG head curator Tom Parker said the Test wicket had a good covering of grass and moisture.
"I've been monitoring the moisture in this pitch, just keeping it topped up to keep the seal in the pitch," Parker said Monday.
"I think it will be fine. There will be no more moisture than you would normally see in the pitch.
"The ball will probably move around for the first session and a half, especially if we get the cloudy conditions here at the SCG.
"You've seen that when it's cloudy, the ball seems to swing through the air a bit and then it should settle down and by day two it'll be a good batting pitch and then on day three you'll start to see the turn come into the game."
Morning showers have been forecast for Tuesday's opening day of the Test, but conditions are expected to be fine for the last three days.
First Published: Jan 01, 2007 18:43 IST