Ponting better prepared for Ashes, says Taylor

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Australian captain Ricky Ponting will be better prepared for anything he may encounter in this year's Ashes cricket series against England, former Test skipper Mark Taylor said.

Taylor, who led Australia in 50 Test matches from 1994 to 1999 for 26 wins, believes Ponting will have done more homework on the England team after being criticised for his leadership in last year's series in England.

"You should never stop learning the game," Taylor told The Sun-Herald newspaper. "All the good captains I saw were prepared to keep learning.

"Ricky would have learnt a lot from that Ashes loss and I'm fairly sure he would have spent time working out how they're going to combat situations if they reoccur."

Ponting was criticised for some of his field placings and his use of bowlers during the series which some claim helped England to win the epic series 2-1.

Taylor, now a television cricket pundit, said he disagreed with the perception that Ponting did not stamp his authority enough during the last Ashes series.

"I don't know about that," he said. "It's easy to think these things from afar. There's no doubt the game got away from Australia at various times.

"It just rolled along and we didn't seem to have many plans as to how to rein it back in."

Taylor believes the added pressure on Ponting's captaincy and the performances of his players will be a positive aspect for the team.

"I don't know if there's too many scars but I do think it's a fair point that there's added pressure, which could be used as a positive," he said.

"There are a lot more players under pressure than there were 18 months ago.

"Going into the last Ashes series, we hadn't been challenged much over the past six or seven years and we were caught on the hop.

"Eighteen months on, there's still a lot of those guys around who played in that series but they'll be much keener and they know that a bad Test or two and they may not be playing any more."


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