It’s not cricket!

What is wrong with the world that expectations are so unbelievably crass and unrealistic? Let’s take Australian cricket captain, Ricky Ponting.

Less than a week ago he became the most successful cricket captain in the history of the game. Not an insignificant achievement. Just roll that epithet around your mind a little: no other captain of a test team has ever achieved so many victories. If that doesn’t impose greatness it certainly provides a glimmer of capability in that direction.

So, a week later, Ponting makes a howler of a decision that costs Australia dearly. It may even cost us victory in one whole test match. And the mob is howling for his blood. He should be sacked, they roar, in voices drunk with selfishness and immaturity. His time has come and gone, he should be just a memory. Give someone else the captaincy, they urge. How utterly pathetic.

Less than seven days has passed since he achieved immortality (in so far as this game and its history is concerned, at least) and now they want him struck down. What kind of ignorance qualifies someone to make a call like that? How completely arrogant would you have to be to assume such a lofty view of the performance of others?

Sure, Ponting’s decision (to anyone who wants Australia to win every game they play) was frustrating and almost inexplicably poor. But does one mistake qualify others to pass such harsh judgment? I think not. Not one of the commentators, spectators, fans or mere personages in the street has achieved what Ponting has and yet they feel smug enough to call for his dismissal. The world has gone mad.

This orgy of denunciation is irredeemably grotesque and demeans everyone who takes part. Should – and his track record suggests it remain highly unlikely – Ponting continue to make a series of blunders then, yes, his captaincy can be queried. Until then all you naysayers should bite your tongues and consider yourselves inadequate to voice an opinion. You haven’t earned the right.