Four weeks ago, when Ricky Ponting spoke about "the biggest eight months of my career coming up", he could not have possibly imagined Pakistan being one of his earliest challenges.
No more errors for Ponting
Four weeks ago, when Ricky Ponting spoke about "the biggest eight months of my career coming up", he could not have possibly imagined Pakistan being one of his earliest challenges. The Australia captain was, instead, looking ahead to the tour of India, the following Ashes series with England and the World Cup next year. But true to their unpredictable nature, Pakistan shredded the myth of the Australians and probably sparked the beginning of the end for Ponting's reign as they drew the Test series in England 1-1.
Australia's next Test assignment is in India and it is the unlikeliest of places for the team to regain lost confidence ahead of the Ashes. They have won just one of their past six Test series there. Hopes of England's first win in Australia since 1986-87 are high after their 2009 series success and a 1-1 draw in South Africa. Ponting knows he will not be able to survive in the job should Andrew Strauss and his team return home with the urn. He has already lost two Ashes series and no Australia captain has lost three since Billy Murdoch in 1890. "I'd probably be looking for a new job if we lose again," said Ponting. "It's as simple as that."
Ponting was brave in taking the blame for the three-wicket defeat to Pakistan in the second Test in Leeds, using the famous quotation, "the buck stops with me", after it had been his decision to bat first on a bowler-friendly Headingley wicket, leading to them being knocked over for just 88. But any more reversals and he will be made to pay dearly by an unforgiving Australia set-up, media and fans.