The Ashes are, without a doubt, the single most important piece of post colonial national pride. There is no other contest so closely fought between Australia and England. It’s important. People who don’t understand sport can’t see the influence that cricket has on the national psyche. But our sporting dominance over the Poms is important because they’re better at other stuff – like comedy – than us.
Now that we’re going to lose the Ashes again, in all probability, from a seemingly unlosable position, I’m going to go on the record (again) with my statement that Ricky Ponting is the worst captain of Australia in my lifetime.
I can’t speak for previous generations – but he’s not a patch on Waugh, Border, or Taylor (listed in order of captaincy nouse from least to greatest). He is a great batsmen – but if he can’t get his players to keep their heads, and their wickets, when the pressure is on, then he absolutely should not be leading the team.
He’s also terrible at managing his players, setting attacking fields, using his bowlers, and all the other rudimentary elements of captaincy. Unfortunately, like the Liberal Party, there doesn’t seem to be an obviously palatable replacement.