Lee leaps to Ponting defence
Brett Lee has backed under-fire Test skipper Ricky Ponting and his team to come good by the time the Ashes begins.
Last Updated: 14/10/10 11:21am
Australia paceman Brett Lee has backed under-fire Test skipper Ricky Ponting and his team to come good by the time the Ashes series gets underway on November 25.
Ponting has been widely criticised for his tactics after his side crashed to a 2-0 series defeat to India - the final Test series the Aussies will play before they face England in Brisbane next month.
Legendary former leg-spinner Shane Warne was particularly vocal in his criticism of Ponting's captaincy during the India series, labelling his field placings for Nathan Hauritz's bowling as "terrible".
But Lee, while admitting the dip in fortunes is disappointing, insists placing all the blame on Ponting is unfair.
"What happens when you lose a Test match, the name that comes up first is the captain," Lee said.
"He's the one that shoulders the responsibility (for a loss).
"It's obviously disappointing but Australia have the chance to turn it around (as a squad).
"As the captain he (Ponting) will gather all his troops in.
"The guys are doing their best over there. It's tough conditions to play in India but I'm sure that when England side come out the guys will be firing and ready to go."
Australia are now in the middle of their worst losing streak in Test cricket in more than 20 years.
A loss to Pakistan in England followed by back-to-back defeats against India means they have lost three straight Tests for the first time since 1988.
Asked if the current Test record was a concern heading into the Ashes, Lee said: "It's not ideal but you know that an Australian squad when they have their backs against the wall is when they play their best cricket.
"I know the Australian side is so excited about the English coming out and I know they'll be eagerly doing their research and making sure they're ready to go.
"You take it (three straight losses) with a grain of salt really. We have lost three Test matches but I'm sure they can turn it around.
"I think we'll get everything together and play some decent cricket."
Lee, who has retired from Test cricket, is hoping to make his long-awaited return from an elbow injury for New South Wales in Sunday's domestic one-day cup match against Western Australia.
It's his first state cricket match since November last year and he only had his first competitive bowl in Sydney club cricket last weekend, taking 2-31 from 10 overs.
"It's been a fair few months on the sidelines but it's great to get back and to be available to play on Sunday is exactly how I planned it," he said.
"You can do as much running as you want but until you actually run out and play it's a different feeling.
"I've pulled up well so I should be firing by Sunday hopefully."