Despite widespread criticism and scrutiny of the current leadership group, Ricky Ponting has faith in head coach Justin Langer and skipper Tim Paine that they'll be able to cast aside the dark shadows of the ball-tampering saga as well as the poor run of results and push Australian cricket forward.
The former captain's word came on the day Australia were asked to follow on for the first time by a visiting team since 1988, as Virat Kohli's men bowled the hosts all out for 300 in response to their 622/7(declare) in the first innings of the New Year's Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground(SCG).
"I had dinner with him last night, just to be a bit of a sounding board for him and give him a bit of support. It's a tough time - the team aren't playing well, the media are pretty hard on all the players and the coaching staff," Ponting told cricket.com.au, "But one thing I've said since he took the job is that you could not find a better person in the world to be in charge of the Australian cricket team right now."
"There might be other opinions out there about that, but I know Justin well. I'm speaking to the players a lot, they're all happy with the environment being created."
"They're working hard, and so far they haven't got the results but I think where we've seen Australian cricket over the last seven or eight months, things weren't going to change and turn around immediately. But I know they're on the right path, and certainly, that's what all the players are saying."
Ponting also intimated that Langer isn't getting burdened by the pressure of expectations at all and is geared for the task at hands with positivity.
"Any time you're part of the Australian cricket team, you want to want to have success and success is almost demanded of you if you're a player or a coach. That hasn't come quite as regularly as the players or Justin would have liked. No doubt it's taking its toll, but not in a negative way whatsoever," Ponting further said, "He's doing his job brilliantly well - he's passionate about it, and wants to be the best coach Australia's ever had."
"He won't leave any stone unturned to give himself the best chance to do that. I think he would have known what he was getting himself into when he took the job. Having been a bloke who played 100-odd Tests and worked with teams that I played in as a batting coach, I think he was pretty aware of what would be coming."
"And then obviously taking over when (banned duo Steve) Smith and (David) Warner both went out together, I think his challenges grew even more as a result of that. They just haven't played a level of cricket that he would have expected, and I’m sure that the players haven't played the way they would have wanted to either as yet."
"That's where I think tomorrow(Day 5 at the SCG) becomes so important. There's still a lot to gain for the individual players and this team out of the last day of this contest. As a batsman, you've got to take every run that you can possibly get because they don't come around that easily, as our batsmen have seen throughout this series. And just a bit of pride in team performance can sometimes go a long way," he signed off.
Australia arrives on the final day of the series, 6/0, still 316 runs behind the visitors and on the cusp of losing their maiden Test series on home shores against India.