ABU DHABI // Rodney Marsh has refused to blame Ricky Ponting for Australia's 2-0 Test series defeat in India. The former wicketkeeper has empathised with the captain for having to deal with a huge void left in the team from the retirements of four all-time greats - Justin Langer, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist. "You can't take 1,200 Test wickets out of a team and expect that team be as good," he said about Warne (708 Test wickets) and McGrath (563).
"There had never been a pair of bowlers in Test cricket who had taken more than 1,200 wickets between them and they were bound to be missed," he said. "Then you look at Gilchrist, who can turn the game in an hour at the crease with his rapid fire centuries and Langer, who has made tons of runs at the top of the order. It's just plain common sense that the team will be weakened by their absence." Marsh accepts Australia "have some work to do" to re-establish their supremacy over the rest of the world and sees the key to any revival in the finding a new batch of top quality spinners. While aware of Jason Krejza's 12-wicket haul against India, Marsh pointed out that they came at a cost of 358 runs.
"It was still a heck of a debut, though, and it begs the question why he wasn't called upon sooner in the series," he said. Marsh is convinced the next generation to wear the Baggy Green caps will come through to keep Australia as a world force again. "But I'm not writing off the current squad," he stressed. "Australia always play their best cricket when they come under pressure. If they are underdogs against England [during next year's series] they will be happy."