Calcutta: Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has said he was disappointed with the team’s abysmal performance in India but felt the experience was worth it.
“I think we are all a little bit disappointed that the team haven’t been able to play a little bit better — everyone knew going there it was going to be a tough tour for Australia,” Ponting said in The Australian.
“Those guys on that tour will be a whole lot better off next time they go there and are confronted with conditions like that. We’ll keep our fingers crossed, and hopefully, they can finish on a winning note this week.”
Ponting shared that he had problems when he was first confronted with the conditions in India but learnt over time.
“I found the first three of four tours I went there I couldn’t score a run. It wasn’t until a few tours down the track that I started learning about playing spin bowling and coping with the conditions that I started to work it out.”
Ponting scored his first half-century on his second tour of India and his first century on his fifth tour after 15 attempts.
On the plane from Mohali to Delhi, Matthew Hayden, who was one of the commentators in the series, also acknowledged that it takes time to conquer India.
The Queenslander may have gone big on his first tour, but it wasn’t until his second, in 2004, that a team that had earned its stripes through the many previous visits of its core group managed to pull off the only series victory since 1969.
Punter also defended Mickey Arthur and Michael Clarke, who are receiving criticism for the side’s performances in India.
“You always come under pressure when you are not winning, no matter what your role is,” he said.
“By the same token, when you win a game you are the one that gets the pat on the back, and that’s the way you have got to look at it.
“They have both been round the block a few times.
“Mickey’s coached a lot of winning teams and teams that haven’t always won. He will know how to bounce back. Michael’s played around 90 Test matches now and over the last few years he has had his ups and downs with teams.
“As long as they bounce back this week and finish well... I actually thought they bounced back last week and finished the game well.”
There’s no going back. Ponting might have just been dubbed the Sheffield Shield Player of the Year and Michael Hussey might be just three Tests gone but the past is a country best forgotten.
Which is not not to say that it shouldn’t be learned from.
There has been wishful thinking in some quarters about a comeback from Michael Hussey or Ponting. The former dismissed the suggestion outright and the latter wouldn’t give it any oxygen either.
“Anyone would be flattered to be asked to make a comeback to international cricket but the decision you make when you retire is a very big one and I know I put a lot of time and thought into the one I made for all the right reasons,” Ponting said.