Ponting gives scathing review of Azhar's captaincy

Former Australia captain was disappointed with the way Pakistan skipper led his side

Ponting gives scathing review of Azhar's captaincy PHOTO COURTESY: Cricket Australia

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting was gave a stern assessment of Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali’s leadership credentials, after the visitors had a disappointing day in the field on the first day of the pink-ball Test in Adelaide.

David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne both plundered back-to-back centuries as Australia stamped their authority on the opening day on Friday.

At the close on a rain-interrupted day, the home team were a dominant 302 for one with the pair building an ominous 294-run partnership, leaving Pakistan with a huge battle to stay in touch.

“Terrible,” Ponting told when asked what he thought of Azhar’s tactics on the opening day in Adelaide. “He just looks like he’s a long way off the mark, Azhar Ali. He’s only captained 16 first-class games in his life, so he’s a young captain in charge of a young bowling team and they look like they just need a bit more experience at the helm.”

“It’s obviously not the most skilled bowling attack of all time. But that’s where you need the captain to be able to help out and set certain fields for you, and tell you exactly what he wants you to do as a bowler. It doesn’t look like they’ve had that direction out on the field. It’s not anything personal against Azhar Ali, I’m just saying what I’ve seenon the field. Tactically, he looks like he’s been a fair way behind,” the Australian cricket great added.

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Ponting was also critical of the fact that Azhar missed a close run-out chance early in the day’s play, where a clean pick-up and throw could have led to an opening for the visitors.

“He was on his heels, he was sloppy, he picked it up lazily and threw it off balance,” he said. “That to me just says he’s probably not engaged in the game enough.”

Pakistan need to win to square the two-match series. The odds were heavily stacked against them before the game began, having lost 13 consecutive Tests in Australia, and their chances are even slimmer now.