Widely deemed as one of the most successful Australian skipper and a great cricketing brain, Ricky Ponting has said that captaincy is about 60 percent off-field homework.
Ponting’s remark came when he asked about Virat Kohli’s leadership skills in the context of India’s recently concluded five-match Test series in England. The No. 1 ranked Test side lost the series 4-1.
“I didn’t watch every single ball of the Test series. For me what happens off the field is more important,” Ponting told PTI.
“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.
Team India’s next overseas assignment is in Australia, where they will feature in a four-match Test series apart from three T20Is as many ODIs. And Ponting feels the success of Kohli and company would largely depend on how well they acclimatize 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.”
“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,” he explained.
On a separate note, Ponting refused to compare Kohli with the batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, saying that 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,” Ponting remarked.
“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,” he concluded.