Keep picking Ricky
Ricky Ponting has decided to step down as captain of Australia - a move backed by former Aussie skipper Allan Border. The Fox Sports columnist gives his views on Punter's decision to quit and on the Tasmanian's captaincy legacy.
Last Updated: 29/03/11 2:15pm
I fully support Ricky Ponting's decision to relinquish the captaincy of Australia Test and one-day sides - and I don't think it will be an issue at all if he continues to play as a batsman under Michael Clarke or another captain's leadership.
I want to take the opportunity to congratulate Ricky for what he achieved as captain of the Australia cricket team. It wouldn't have been an easy decision to stand down, but I think in the interests of himself and the team, it's quite timely the captaincy issue is put to bed once and for all.
Despite stepping down as skipper, I think he still has to be in the side.
He is still in the top six batsmen in the country and showed in the World Cup quarter-final against India that he still has what it takes to play at international level, so I don't think that should be debated.
Is it a problem for a former captain to play under a new leader? We always used to pick the team first and pick the best candidate to captain the team. I think that's subtly changed over the years - now we tend to pick the captain and pick the team.
So I assume the new captain will and should have some sort of say on the make-up of the team to Bangladesh and that will be the most interesting scenario - will the new captain be comfortable with Ricky Ponting in his team? That's the most important part of this scenario.
The only dramas will happen if the new captain feels the big shadow hanging over his shoulder. But it shouldn't be if you're confident in your ability and yourself.
When I first captained Australia in 1984-1985, Kim Hughes was still in the side and it wasn't an issue for me.
Also, I was fortunate to play a couple of seasons for Queensland under Stuart Law's captaincy after I retired from international cricket.
I know it's on a lesser stage, but I thoroughly enjoyed just being one of the boys again and Stuart and I got on famously well. He also used me as a bit of a sounding board from time to time.
The whole experience had a revitalising effect for me personally - and are just a couple of examples to show it should work. And it might revitalise Ricky's own game to the point he gets back to his absolute best cricket as we try to rebuild the side.
I get the feeling that it could lift that bit of a burden he's been feeling under the pressure of leadership - and he might do a Jacques Kallis or Sachin Tendulkar and really flourish even though he's in his mid-thirties.
That could be a real bonus for Australian cricket for the next couple of years. He has a role to play in the rebuilding process and it will be invaluable having a senior guy in the group playing a mentoring role with the younger guys in the team.
So how should Ricky's tenure be remembered?
For the first six or seven years he had just the most incredible record as a player and a captain - a couple of World Cup wins, a Champions Trophy win in one-day cricket, numerous wins in Test cricket.
He's right up there with the best ever. From that side of things he should be remembered fondly.
What people keep ramming home is that he captained teams that lost the Ashes series and lost in a World Cup campaign, but he should be remembered for being a good Australian captain that had a lot of success over a long period of time.
What the selectors do we'll find out shortly, but my own gut feel is I've got no problem with Ricky playing on. We should be picking our best teams - yes, with an eye to the future - but also to win the game directly in front of you.
If that's the case I'd expect Ricky to be picked in the team that tours. But the change of leadership heralds a new era for the game in Australia.
* Allan Border is a columnist for Fox Sports in Australia.