Persist with Ponting
Bumble reflects on the MCG and says Australia need to make changes - but not to the captaincy.
Last Updated: 30/12/10 1:31pm
I said before the series started that England would win 3-1 - and it looks like I'm going to be bang on for a change.
England have thoroughly deserved to retain the Ashes and as a far better team, it's thoroughly unsurprising that they've done so. They're fitter, stronger, have greater ability and are an all round classier act than Australia.
Andy Flower was right to give the credit to the players who have gone out and done the job. The preparation, practice and performance has been spot on, but the simple fact of the matter is that England's players are better than Australia's. England were bowled out for 513 in Melbourne and Peter Siddle got 6-75. What does that tell you about the rest of them?
They're struggling to come to terms with it over here. The former Somerset captain Peter Roebuck writes a brilliant newspaper column and he pointed out that Australia are where England were about 15 years ago.
When you look at the individual players, the team collective and the structure of the game it seems that things need a total revamp. They need to address everything from the surfaces they play on to the role of State cricket - just as we did when all the big TV money came in.
Following the fifth match at Sydney, Australia will not play any more Test cricket for eight months, so hopefully in that time they can find a pattern that gives them a better structure and a better path to representing the country.
One change I don't think needs to be made is to the captaincy.
Ricky Ponting is by far the best player and the best captain they have. The reality is that the people around him are not good enough and nobody could do a better job with that bowling attack.
From what he's saying he wants to carry on. He takes great pride in the job that he does for Australia and I think he could be instrumental in implementing the changes I discussed above.
He remains a good player and he will rediscover his form, I've no doubt about that. It's a shame that his finger injury will prevent him from getting out of his slump at Sydney.
The only blemish with him is his constant haranguing of umpires, an issue that really gets me bristling.
It's sad that there isn't more of a deterrent to stop the sort of scenes we saw in Melbourne. Fining him 40% of his match fee is equivalent to putting three points on your driving licence - it's not really going to stop you doing it again.
It's time to apply match bans for those offences, but if you go through the history of ICC disciplinary hearings we see the same old story time after time.
If you're a nobody, they nail you. If you're high profile, you get your wrist slapped. That needs to change.
The pitches out here in Australia have been absolutely brilliant. They've offered something for the bowlers, but the batters have been able to score hundreds and double hundreds as well.
I like the fact Graeme Swann has had to work for his wickets and I'm sure that he would have come to the fore even more if the last three games had gone to a fifth day.
We've seen pace and bounce and the public have responded to that. That's something that has to be done to make Test cricket interesting. We don't want to see these flat "chief executive" pitches that we get on the sub continent which offer nothing more than a five-day batting exhibition.
That lesson needs to be learned and England also need to learn how to make home advantage count because every other country does it.
When it comes to the home Tests against India and Sri Lanka next summer, all that the England team will be asking for is pitches with pace and bounce. If they get that then there's no reason why they can't go on to even greater things.
The MCG may hold 100,000 people, but the Sky Sports commentators were still working in a broom cupboard. We're in the biggest cricket ground in the world and we're all cramped together like sardines! That's just the way it goes sometimes.
However, it is a thrilling stadium and I think it will take several years before the England players are able to fully grasp what they've achieved.
However, they were not the only ones to enjoy a special moment at the MCG on Wednesday.
After the crowds had all gone home, the Sky Sports team stayed behind to record some extra programmes. Some of the guys have their families with them and they came along to join us when it had all died down.
We were treated to a lovely sight as Nasser Hussain's two young boys, Jacob and Joel, went out onto the field with Michael Atherton's young son Josh. They picked some wickets and played cricket for ages and ages.
Three little lads playing on their own at the MCG. What a fantastic moment!
Happy New Year!