MELBOURNE: Regarded as one of the most successful Australian captain, Ricky Ponting said captaincy is about 60 per cent off the field preparation and 40 per cent on the pitch.
Ponting made the comment in reference to Indian captain Virat Kohli’s leadership skills in the context of India’s recently concluded Test tour of England, which the visitors lost 1-4.
“I didn’t watch every single ball of the Test series. For me what happens off the field is more important,” the former Australia captain said during an interaction at MCG here.
“On the field part like bowling changes or field placement is highly overrated. It is only about 30 or 40 per cent and the rest of the preparations takes place behind close doors before a match,” he added.
In the aftermath of the disastrous England series, the focus now has shifted to India’s upcoming tour of Australia and Ponting said the visitor’s success would largely depend on how well they adapt to the conditions Down Under.
“It’s about adapting to the conditions here. Most of the visiting teams find it difficult to win here and that’s the way Test cricket has been for long time in Australia. South Africa experienced the same. Similarly we find it difficult to win in India and South Africa,” Ponting said.
“We know in last 50 years India have struggled to win Test series away from home. For any team travelling to UK playing against a team as good as England, it is going to be difficult.”
India will tour Australia from November 2018 to January 2019 to play four Tests, three ODIs and three T20 matches.
“For the upcoming series as far as India is concerned a lot will depend upon the wickets. If the ball seams a lot they will find it difficult in Australia. But if the wickets are flat like we saw some last year then it can bring India right into the contest,” Ponting said.
“We have seen how Indian batsmen have struggled against quality swing bowling in England. Similarly we have struggled against spin in subcontinent,” he said on the sidelines of a programme to announce Indian tyre manufacturing giant BKT’s association with Big Bash League.
Meanwhile, Ponting refused to compare Kohli with legendary Sachin Tendulkar and said the Indian captain still has a long way to go in his career.
“Comparisons are hard to make at this stage of his (Kohli’s) career. You are being compared with someone who has played 200 Test matches. What you remember about Sachin is when he was finishing off. You don’t remember when he was in mid 20s,” he said.
“Everyone is saying exceptional things about Virat (Kohli) now but let’s see if he can dominate international cricket for about 10, 12 or 15 years which would be a sign of a real champion player.
“Sachin did that in all three formats. If someone can play 200 Tests its incredible. I myself have played 168 Tests but 200 is something else,” Ponting added.
Talking about his own experiences of playing in India and later as coach of Mumbai Indians, Ponting said: “I have been to India more than 50 times but initial tours were not very successful.
“When I got to know about their culture, environment and playing conditions, I became a better cricketer.”
“I tell this to younger cricketers also that before playing in India, try to understand the country which is completely different from ours but we share the passion for cricket,” he signed off.