‘Heads must roll’: Aussie media baying for Ponting’s blood

2011-11-16 00:00

MICHAEL Clarke has been brutally honest about his teams’ ineptness in the first Test match against South Africa at Newlands, but even he must be reeling from the media hammering that has ensued.

After the completion of the Argus review and months of introspection into the reasons for the underperforming national team, Friday’s eight-wicket thumping by South Africa has Australian cricket writers baying for blood.

Peter Badel wrote in the Herald Sun that “heads must roll sooner than later” and that “no Australian team can slump to 21-9, be rolled for 47 and remain unchanged”.

The question of whose heads is partially answered in The Australian headline, which reads, “John Inverarity’s axe looms over Punter [Ponting]”. It appears that Inverarity’s first job as Australian convenor of selectors will be to decide the fate of one of Australia’s finest cricketers after the Wanderers Test match.

The Herald Sun holds no punches saying, prematurely in my opinion, that “the Test selectors must lie awake at night desperately praying for Ponting to jump gracefully before they reluctantly push him”. Ponting is not the only player who is under the spotlight.

Brad Haddin’s ill-chosen dance down the wicket to Vernon Philander in the second innings was not his finest moment, by his own admission. Already there is talk that he has done his time and should be handing the gloves to the 27-year-old Tasmanian, Tim Paine.

Left-arm bowler Mitchell Johnson is also fighting to save his Test place. Johnson, who has taken just 11 wickets in his last five Tests at an average of 51,64, was targeted by Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla in the Proteas second innings run-chase, going for over six runs an over.

While it’s tempting to gloat over the discontent in the Australian camp, it would be wrong to let it detract from South Africa’s brilliant performance and complete annihilation of Australia in just two days and one session.

Philander’s selection for the Test at Newlands was a triumph for South African coach Gary Kirsten.

Philander, who has been the leading wicket taker in franchise cricket for the last three years in a row, forced his way into the Protea Test line-up.

As horses for courses go, Philander’s lively seam bowling was perfectly suited to the Newlands pitch.

I’m sure “Pro”, as he is known, would love to have wrapped up the Newlands turf and taken it away with him. With the fast bowlers making short work of the Australian batsmen, debutant leg-spinner Imran Tahir was barely needed at Newlands.

The return to form of Smith and Amla was well-timed.

After a long layoff and a knee operation Smith quietened his critics.

His powerful batting display in the second innings reminded us why he is the best run chaser in Test cricket at the moment.

The Proteas have massive momentum going into the second and final Test at the Wanderers and will want to repeat the dominance they displayed at Newlands.

The Bullring is always an intimidating arena for touring teams, but for Ponting, Haddin, Johnson and their team-mates it may well feel like the Colosseum.

Neil Johnson is a former Zimbabwean, Western Province and Dolphins cricketer turned commentator who resided in the midlands.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.