Thomson lays into Ponting
Former Australia pace bowler Jeff Thomson has launched a scathing attack on the captaincy skills of Ricky Ponting.
Last Updated: 01/07/09 4:34pm
Former Australia pace bowler Jeff Thomson has launched a scathing attack on the captaincy skills of current skipper Ricky Ponting.
Australia legend Thomson, who took 200 Test wickets, believes Ponting should have never been appointed as Test captain, although he has still backed the Baggy Greens to retain the Ashes.
Speaking ahead of the first Test, which gets underway at Cardiff on July 8, Thomson said: "I thought Ricky was c**p when he was first captain in 2004 and nothing much has improved since then.
"I'm not the only one who thinks that. I've always bagged him and everyone at home thinks he's s**t at the captaincy.
"He's a great player but captaincy is a totally different thing. I couldn't believe it when he'd been picked as captain. There was no-one else to pick but Ponting still had no experience.
"He'd only captained one side ever before. How did he get to lead Australia with that sort of experience?
"He was in a side that had very good players and now he's got a side that has average players. He's still left wanting.
"You see it on him - he gets frustrated. He worries when the players don't do what he's used to with the ball when he passes it to them.
"This is half the reason he's got a bloke in there who can't even spin a ball (Nathan Hauritz). Simon Katich and Michael Clarke have more chance of taking a wicket than Hauritz.
"Why go for a guy like that? I don't rate Hauritz.
"The choices he makes, his field settings and the things he does are never right. England have the edge in the captaincy department. But while England have a better captain, Australia have a better line-up."
Australia prepare to defend the urn with a bowling line-up which sees only Brett Lee boast previous Ashes experience.
But Thomson believes Australia will overlook the 32-year-old quick due to an ankle injury which has seen him ruled out of Test cricket since the Boxing Day Test against South Africa last year.
"I don't see a place for Brett Lee in this side. He hasn't played for such a long time," he said.
"Mitchell Johnson is a handy bowler but what's really added another string to his bow is his batting - he's a really good batsman. He bats properly and is a good hitter of the ball. He's got defence and attack."
Australia won a Test series in South Africa earlier this year under Ponting's leadership but Thomson said: "They'll need to play a lot better than they did in South Africa because the conditions are different.
"I've played in England many times and it's much harder for the bowlers, but I think we'll win the series by a single Test."