Cricket: Ricky Ponting – Control!

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It’s the final day of the Australia-India test and Australia are loading the pressure on the Indian batsmen. Set over 300 to win the game, the best the Indians can hope for is a draw. The Australians are after the win to secure a 2-0 series advantage. And gain a sixteenth successive test victory.

With Australian catchers around the bat, the pressure is being exerted on the Indians. And by none more so than captain Ricky Ponting. If an lbw decision goes against his team, his face is a mixture of disbelief and indignation. As if he can tell from silly mid-off or slip whether ball will go on to hit stumps. He can’t. But that is not the point.

Each expression of disbelief and indignation, is designed to put pressure on the umpires. It’s aim is to suggest to them that they must be wrong. Why? Because Ricky Ponting must be right.

The supreme confidence of the Australians creates an aura of authority. An authority that aims to control the umpires. The Australian sense of certainty, allied with their mental strength and assertiveness creates an aura of power. Power, that when applied. is akin to bullying.

Look at Ponting when Ganguly nicks Brett Lee to Michael Clarke in the slips. It’s a contentious catch. The ball possibly hits the ground before Clarke catches it. But Pointing is in no doubt. He has his finger raised when umpire Mark Benson looks in his direction. Ponting has given it out. Then it must be out!

Collective strength aimed at preying on weakness. They can sense it in umpire Bucknor. Whether from fatigue, or mental weakness he awards the Australians a decision against Rahul Dravid that is plainly incorrect. The Australians are doing his thinking for him.

The Australians know how to win. They also know how to control the umpires. It takes an umpire with supreme mental strength and self awareness to not be affected by such mind games.