Greig - Go after Ponting
Tony Greig believes England should target Australia skipper Ricky Ponting with plenty of short stuff during the Ashes.
Last Updated: 16/11/10 10:23am
Former England captain Tony Greig believes the tourists should target Ricky Ponting with plenty of short stuff during the Ashes.
Greig has called on England to follow the example of Douglas Jardine's bowlers in the Bodyline series and target Australia's best batsman.
Back in the 1932/33 series it was Sir Don Bradman who was the man in England's sights, with the leg-side tactic leading to relations between the two nations becoming extremely strained.
Now, according to Greig, England have to do something similar to Ponting, who has shown a propensity to get out playing the hook and pull shot.
"If I was playing against him (Ponting) I'd be at his head, at his throat, with two fieldsmen back," said Greig.
"He's not quite the puller he used to be - he was one of the best ever - but he's been hit a few times in the head and been out playing the pull shot.
"When you don't start to hit them or see them as well as you used to (there are doubts). If Ricky gets nailed a few times and gets out to the hook shot, it will lift the Englishmen no end.
"If I was England, particularly at the Gabba, I would have two back straight away at the boundary and I'd be right at him.
"It was the sort of philosophy that was adopted by (Douglas) Jardine in Bodyline. He had to halve the average of Bradman."
However, Greig did admit that such a plan could backfire if Ponting is successful in fighting fire with fire.
"He is still the number one dangerman," he added. "From an Australia point of view, I think Ricky's performance is vital.
"If Ricky gets off to a good start and gets some runs then I think the whole place will lift."
Ex-Australia captain Mark Taylor admits Ponting has had his problems playing bouncers in the recent past - but has warned Andrew Strauss' side that the right-hander is not on the wane just yet.
"He's been out to the hook a few times over the last year and a half so it might work, but that's the sort of tactic that could also backfire," Taylor said.
"If Ricky starts playing the hook shot and finds the middle of the bat he can score pretty quickly.
"He bats at three, he's a pivotal man for Australia and if he has a good series I'm sure the Australian side will just follow him.
"If they can upset Ricky and he doesn't bat as well as he would like to bat, it'll go a long way for England to winning the series."