We know that this issue has been raised, but Ricky Ponting stepping aside for this Test Match shows what a state of disarray Australian Cricket is in, and how the Coach, as in other sports has little control over the team.
Ponting obviously wanted to play in Melbourne, not only to try and find form, but to also save his career as Captain of Australia. For that you have to admire him, wanting and believing he could turn things around. Had he won that Test, and had the chance of not allowing England to retain the Ashes would he have played in Sydney? The chances are he probably would have.
The big question is was he really fit to play in Melbourne? Who made that call? Was it the captain himself or was it the coach Tim Neilson? Maybe it was even the selectors who made the call and advised him if you lose you will take a rest at Sydney.
Shane Warne famously derided the role of coach, and the saga of Ponting’s finger has shown that in the Australian set up the role would appear too limited in terms of authority. By comparison, Andy Flower’s influence on the English team looks to be far more involved.
This is maybe the area that Australian cricket needs to look at the relationship between Captain and Coach, and who holds the balance of power. Player power has wreaked havoc in other sports and Australian cricket needs to ensure that it does not destroy their national sport