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Ricky Ponting calls for specialist coaches

Published: Monday, September 19, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Sydney:Ricky Ponting has told Cricket Australia that the national team needs more specialist assistants and that John Buchanan should remain head coach.

In a briefing with CA cricket operations manager Michael Brown yesterday, Ponting said that Australia must look at the basis of England's Ashes victory and provide more support staff.

"One of the big things that stood out to us was the resources they had available right through the series," Ponting said.

"There's no doubt they've sat back, had a look at us and studied what we've done over the last three or four years with the structure around our team and coaching staff.

"They've had a really good look at our model and made it even better, turning theirs into the leading model in world cricket.

"They had so many hands on deck with lots of specialist coaches. They were certainly very well managed, well planned and well skilled.

"If you look at the way some of our individuals struggled through the tour, it's a pity we didn't have any expert coaches there or available to help those guys out." Besides Buchanan, Australia had assistant coach Jamie Siddons as well as a fitness coach, masseuse, physiotherapist and team manager.

However England also had a specialist bowling coach, Troy Cooley, and batting coach, Matthew Maynard.

Buchanan, who is out of contract next month, has been strongly criticised for Australia's sloppy fielding, undisciplined bowling and inconsistent batting.

However, Ponting defended Buchanan, claiming he had taken Australian cricket to another level of preparation and professionalism during his six-year reign.

"I've loved everything that Buck (Buchanan) has done as coach of the Australian team," Ponting said.

"He's probably approached things a different way to some but he's certainly taken the Australian cricket team to a place it has never been before. "I think we can all get back there again with Buck as coach."

Ponting claimed that Buchanan was always challenging the players by thinking about the game in a different way.

"He's an exceptional man manager and time manager. He has things sorted out for us very well on tour," he said.

"Buck would be the first one to admit he's not the hands on, skills-based coach that some of our assistant coaches have been. But his planning is second to none."

Ponting recalls arriving in India midway through last October's tour of India after recovering from injury and approaching Buchanan to see what he was working on. He was putting the final touches on the team's 2007 World Cup document.

"He's a long way ahead of what we were doing at the time and a long way ahead of the game.

"It makes everything for us that much easier. "He has different ideas and thoughts about how the team should be structured and run." Ponting also expects to be part of a wide-ranging review headed by former Australia captains Allan Border and Mark Taylor, and former West Australian coach Daryl Foster.

All CA board members, the high-powered trio will analyse all areas of the Ashes series before reporting back to their fellow Cricket Australia board members at a meeting next month.

"There will be a whole range of things spoken about," Ponting said. "Where we've got to go and how we can make things better and how the team can improve. "The itinerary and programming will come up."

Ponting also spoke to chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns yesterday regarding team selection for the Super Series next month.

Despite the Ashes loss, the captain expects few changes, if any, in the one-day team to play the rest of the world at Melbourne's Telstra Dome on October 5, 7 and 9. He expects a similar stand for the six-day Test in Sydney from October 14.

Ponting played down concerns about the timing of the event so soon after a long tour and denied the gloss had been taken off the matches by Australia's failure to retain the Ashes.

"Playing at home I expect an improved performance," Ponting said, denying the players would have trouble getting up again so soon to match it against the finest players in the world.

"A lot of the guys over the last few years, when they've had a small break they've generally come back and played better.

"There's no doubt the three-and-a-half months away wore us all down a little bit. A week off then getting back into some training to freshen up I think will be just the thing we need."

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