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Captain on selection panel vital for better communication – Ricky Ponting

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Ricky Ponting, the former Australia skipper, believes a team captain should always be on the selection panel, saying it is imperative for better communication and accountability towards players.

Ponting’s comments come after Ashton Agar and Nathan Coulter-Nile said there was no proper communication regarding their ouster from the one-day international squad picked for the three-match series against India.

“When I was playing, as captain I was desperate to be an actual selector,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.

“More (for) communication reasons than anything else, it wasn’t because I didn’t always get the team I wanted. To be accountable and to be able to communicate well among your players, I thought it was vital that the captain could pass on his views to the players directly.”

The current Australia Test captain Tim Paine isn’t a fan of the idea. “I’ve got enough on my plate at the moment,” Paine had said when asked about the idea of sitting on the selection panel.

But Ponting believes it will help keep everyone on the same page. “I don’t know if that’s happening now or not,” he said. “(But) I’d like to see the captain become a selector. It just makes communication easier, it makes it clearer, if the players know it’s coming from the captain, someone who’s there working with them on a daily basis.”

“You’d like to see whatever he had to say to the players would be honest and to the point. I’ve said it for years that I’d like to see it that way.”

Ponting never sat on the panel, but his successor and predecessor did during their reigns. Steve Waugh was part of the selectors while he was Australia captain and so was Michael Clarke, although the latter stepped down from the panel after Mickey Arthur was sacked as coach of the national side. Since then, no Australian captain has been on the panel.

Ponting said the captain would influence the selectors’ decisions any way, given they turn to him to ask for suggestions regarding players.

“He’s doing that (having a say in selection) anyway,” said Ponting. “The selectors are still asking him what he thinks of them (players) and their futures.

“It’s no different (if Paine was a selector), except he has full accountability around the group then. I’m sure it probably gets to the stage (currently) at times when Tim might not get a certain player in the team that he wants or there might be someone in the team that he might not want there – how does he then remain honest with them?

“But if he’s a selector then he can be honest with them. That’s what I’ve always felt about it. It would be a much more open and honest environment if he was a selector.”

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