Ricky Ponting has opened up the 2005 Ashes series loss in England, describing it as the “low point” of his career.
Leading an Australian side boasting the likes of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke, Justin Langer, Brett Lee and Matthew Hayden, many tipped Ponting’s men to comprehensively beat England.
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But after winning the first Test it all went wrong for the Aussies, with England storming back to claim a 2-1 series victory.
In the aftermath of the devastating loss, one of the more scandalous claims to pop up was the theory that the wives and girlfriends of the Aussie players had derailed their performance on the field.
It was reported that some of the WAGs weren’t getting along, which caused rifts among the players.
But speaking on Shane Watson’s Lessons Learnt with the Greats Podcast this week, Ponting dismissed the theory that the WAG dramas had been a distraction.
The former Aussie captain said the loss was more to do with the fact a number of players seemed to slack off during the series.
“That’s the low point of my career, let alone the low point of my captaincy,” Ponting said.
“There are a few things that happened at the start of that tour which hasn’t been talked about that much. If you go back and look at it all, there was a lot of talk about the wives on tour and a lot of the girls weren’t getting on, which meant a lot of the boys weren’t getting on.
“One of our players chose not to stay in the team hotel on that tour because he had his family there, things like that.
“A lot of that stuff I don’t think has an impact on how a team plays. There are other things.
“On the other side of it, we tailored our training … we were trying to find ways to make our training less time consuming, but everyone walking away feeling like they got a lot of work done.
“Some guys, without mentioning names, wanted to go down early and get work done and not be there for four hours.
“We just lost a little bit of the fabric of Australian cricket if you like … a lot of guys started to shy away from that side of it. You know, ‘I don’t want to face the new balls today, I don’t want to face the bowlers, just throwdowns’. A lot of that sort of stuff started to creep in.
“I’ve based everything in my life on trust and trusting people, and if I look back there, I just trusted people too much. I actually put too much faith in people to get their work done at a certain level which was going to hold up for an Ashes series, and guess what, it didn’t.
“Before we knew it and when we tried to start changing things, it was halfway through an Ashes series and momentum was against us and we were playing a really, really good and well-drilled team.
“Little things when we were trying to do the right thing turned into big things very quickly, and I probably should have been more nimble and been able to act on them a little bit quicker.”
How the Aussies bounced back to win 5-0
Ponting said he and the coaching staff learned from the near-miss and made the necessary changes to ensure they didn’t suffer the same fate when England travelled to Australia in the summer of 2006/07.
The result was a resounding 5-0 victory for Ponting’s men.
“Coming back for that 2006/07 series, we went back to the old-school way. We did everything together … and look at what the results were,” Ponting said.
“We got back to what had made us successful for so long, and without sounding like an idiot, probably at a level of Test match cricket played by that team through that series which I’m not sure many teams have been able to match before or after, with the same group of players that were disappointing 18 months beforehand.
“Once we got back to the old-school stuff, I guess the old-school stuff came back as well.”
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