Melbourne: Defending under-fire Ricky Ponting for his tactics to make up for slow over-rate, Australia’s chief coach Tim Nielsen has questioned the captain’s critics if it was right to break the rules just for a win.

Two days after Ponting used part-time slow bowlers on the penultimate day of the fourth and final match of the lost Test series against India, Nielsen emphasised that the Australian skipper had many other things than the slow over-rate problem to bother about.

“Ricky had to take a number of things into consideration and having the prospect of a suspension for slow over-rate hanging over his head was only part of it,” Nielsen wrote in his blog for Cricket Australia’s website.

Is that right?

“It’s all well and good to now say that he should have kept bowling the quicks at any cost but the question I ask is what sort of leadership is that as a captain of Australia? Is it all right to break the rules as long as you win without worrying about the consequences?” he said.

Explains the move

Nielsen sought to explain Ponting’s strategy, saying the captain had employed his most successful bowler, off-spinner Jason Krejza, and the plan was to let Krejza attack while tying down the runs at the other end.

“Unfortunately, it’s not like our fast bowlers had taken wickets on call throughout the series,” Nielsen said.

“When Jason is bowling, and his figures suggest he is giving up four, five, six runs an over at different times, it’s really hard to keep the game from getting away when you’re giving up runs from both ends.

“We bowled our first selected spinner for the tour in Cameron White, who had done a good job of restricting the run-rate during the first three Tests while taking very timely wickets (dismissing Sachin Tendulkar twice). Unfortunately, this time it wasn’t successful, but if it had been I think those in the media would be singing Ricky’s praises,” he said. — PTI

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