Australian pace great Jeff Thomson has lashed out at skipper Ricky Ponting for failing to lead the side from the front during the Ashes series which they lost to England 1-2.

Australians dominated throughout the five-match series, but eventually failed to retain the urn mainly due to poor captaincy of Ponting, feels the 59-year-old former cricketer.

“Ricky Ponting is flying home for a rest — but he should be staying in England to help clear up the mess he’s left behind. It doesn’t look good when he loses the Ashes and then doesn’t hang around to face the music with his teammates,” Thompson wrote in his column in Mirror.

“The captain should always be last off his sinking ship, not the first to jump in the lifeboat. Unless Ponting has urgent personal business or compassionate leave for something I’m not aware of, he should not be nipping back to Australia and putting his feet up for the first half of the ODI series,” he said.

“How the hell did the Aussies manage to lose the series 2-1 when they scored eight hundreds to England’s two, and the three leading wicket-takers were all Australian?,” Thomson raised question.

The former cricketer was also far from amused with the task of national selectors and feels not playing off-spinner Nathan Hauritz in the final Test match was the biggest mistake on the visitors’ part.

“Our selectors have made any number of mistakes on this trip, but leaving out Hauritz at The Oval was the lousiest of all. I’m not sure who had the final say, but Merv Hughes (an Australian selector) has been floating around like a package tour rep so it’s not like our blokes have been forced to play guessing games from 10,000 miles away,” he wrote.

“If the selectors go first then Ponting won’t be far behind, even though he’s still our best batsman. I know I bagged him before the series started, and overall I don’t think he captained the side that badly.

“But those last 11 overs in the first Test at Cardiff are going to haunt him into his old age,” he added. Australia, despite being in favourable position, failed to secure the lead in the first encounter in Cardiff.

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