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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 December 2006, 15:55 GMT
Ponting behind England hierarchy
Ricky Ponting
Ponting has now taken part in five winning Ashes series
Triumphant Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes the level of criticism aimed at England coach Duncan Fletcher and captain Andrew Flintoff is unfair.

Australia won the first three Tests to regain the Ashes, and have won 14 out of 15 overall since their loss in 2005.

"There are 11 guys in the team, or 13 in the squad, and it's very harsh to blame the coach and captain," he said.

"They haven't played anywhere near as well as they'd liked but we haven't given them the opportunity to."

Ponting is only too well aware of the emotions that Fletcher and Flintoff are experiencing, as it is only 15 months since he became the first Australia captain for 19 years to lose an Ashes series.

606: DEBATE
AA
"I know as a leader, as a captain of a side, that when you lose a lot of the flak will come back on you," he said.

Ponting, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Tuesday, has responded magnificently with the bat in the current series, making over 500 runs in his first six innings, including two big centuries.

"It has been a wonderful four weeks for the side and we are pleased with the results so far," he said.

Asked about the prospect of a 5-0 whitewash, he added: "I think we will look at 4-0 first and go from there."

SEE ALSO
Fletcher ponders future as coach
19 Dec 06 |  The Ashes
Ruthless Aussies regain the Ashes
18 Dec 06 |  The Ashes
Boycott voices whitewash concern
18 Dec 06 |  The Ashes
Flintoff hails awesome Australia
18 Dec 06 |  The Ashes


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