Dean Jones, the free-thinking former Australia batsman, is demanding someone be held accountable for his nation's Ashes demise - and thinks Shane Warne should be the man to replace Ricky Ponting as captain.
Warne could be tempted by captaincy, says Jones
Dean Jones, the free-thinking former Australia batsman, is demanding someone be held accountable for his nation's Ashes demise - and thinks Shane Warne should be the man to replace Ricky Ponting as captain. Jones believes Warne, the leg-spin great-turned-commentator, would take up the chance "in a heartbeat", even though he retired from international cricket two years ago.
Ponting's position is under threat after he became the first Australia captain in over a century to lose two series in England. Warne was known to covet the chance of captaining Australia, and was thought to have been overlooked solely on the basis of off-field misdemeanors. Ian Chappell, the former captain and one of Warne's most vocal supporters, has often termed him the greatest captain Australia never had.
Many people within Australian cricket predicted Warne would still be in the ranks when Australia returned to England, immediately after he announced his retirement in 2007. However, he played his last professional match in a charity Twenty20 game for the Rajasthan Royals against Middlesex at Lord's, which was a precursor to the Ashes. "Someone has to be accountable for this and there will be some casualties, there's no doubt about it," said Jones.
"If the selectors or Cricket Australia want to go to someone else for the captaincy, if they're thinking of that, [the options are] maybe give it to Michael Clarke straight away now. "Is he old enough? Is he mature enough now? Will they give it to, say, maybe Marcus North who they have a lot of respect for? Or even Simon Katich? "Or one more...? Ask Shane Warne to come out of retirement just for two years, then give it to Michael Clarke.
"A lot of people might be thinking 'that's stupid' but it will take him two months, three months to get himself fit, just let him play the Test matches and, I tell you what, he would do it in a heartbeat. "I don't think they'll do that, I don't think they'll go that far but it'll be an option, I tell you, that'll be looked at. "Having the name 'captain of Australia' next to Shane Warne... it's one thing he's never done. I tell you, he would do it in a heartbeat."
Jones's outlandish suggestion was immediately scotched by Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland. He said: "Ricky's had a very, very good series. He's been under incredible pressure. "I thought the dignity and poise that he showed in defeat was something that all Australians should be very proud of." Ponting believes it was a case of small margins and key moments counting against his team.
The Tasmanian batsman said: "That happened on a couple of occasions, not being able to get the final wickets in the first Test in Cardiff, [the second] at Lord's and our first-innings batting [at the Oval]. We need to become more consistent in our performances." Ponting believes the introduction of across-the-board third-umpire referrals will benefit cricket for years to come. Ponting has just led his Australia team to a 2-1 Ashes defeat in the last series likely to be played without the International Cricket Council's referral system and said: "I think it will be definitely a good thing for the game."