No stopping Ponting
Andrew Hilditch is backing Ricky Ponting to lead Australia successfully through the summer and beyond.
Last Updated: 19/06/09 2:45pm
Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch is backing Ricky Ponting to lead Australia successfully through the summer's Ashes series and beyond.
Ponting's decorated career includes twice being named world player of the year, second place in Test cricket's list of prolific centurions, fourth among all-time run scorers and a raft of winners' medals as captain in global limited-overs events.
The one indelible mark, however, was left by the 2005 Ashes defeat to England and, despite leading the side to a 5-0 whitewash in the 2006-07 return series, he remains highly motivated to set that record straight.
"There's one thing on my cricketing resume that hasn't been achieved yet, and that's being captain of a winning Ashes series in England," Ponting said.
"It's something very dear to my heart, and something I'll certainly be speaking to the players about - making sure we get over that hurdle.
"In 2005, we got off to a great start and then things slipped away from us from there. A lot of us have been there, and learned from our mistakes of last time and we're keen to rectify that."
At 34, Ponting is now the senior figure in Australia's squad and chairman of selectors is keen to see him mentor the new generation of Aussie stars through the next few years.
"Leadership issues are things that we always think about but we are really confident that Ricky will be more than capable of getting through to the 2011 World Cup, and I know that is something he would like to do, so I don't see that as being an issue," Hilditch said.
"We have been very careful with managing his workload in the last three or four years.
"From time to time we will look at his workload, particularly on overseas tours and try and keep it to a manageable level, but for key events Ricky is always going to be a critical member of the side."
Ponting's men will warm-up for the Ashes in a four-day game against Sussex, starting Wednesday, ahead of the eagerly anticipated first Test in Cardiff on July 8.