Vaughan: Ponting's job on line
Michael Vaughan believes Ricky Ponting will lose the Australia captaincy if they fail to win back the Ashes.
Last Updated: 02/11/10 4:42pm
Michael Vaughan believes Australia captain Ricky Ponting will lose his job if he fails to oversee an Ashes victory this winter.
England have arrived Down Under to defend the urn they claimed with a 2-1 success on home soil last year.
Australia have not lost an Ashes series Down Under since 1986/87 but have been struggling in recent months and suffered a 2-0 Test whitewash on their recent tour of India, placing Ponting's leadership under increasing scrutiny.
"If he loses the series he will go," predicted ex-England skipper Vaughan, who came out on top in his captaincy battle with Ponting in the 2005 Ashes.
"He has lost the Ashes twice (2005 and 2009) and hasn't won an Ashes in England either.
"Obviously he won the '06-07 Ashes 5-0 but he had a better team to manage those days but now he has a team that is almost back in the ranks of normal cricket teams.
"His record in Australia is phenomenal but he will have to be at his best, both as a captain and as a batsman to put England under pressure."
Vaughan also feels England will benefit from the absence of a number of Australian Ashes veterans, who have recently retired.
"It's harder being a captain when you don't have the ammunition in your bowling attack that includes the likes of (Shane) Warne, (Glenn) McGrath and (Jason) Gillespie," he added.
"He doesn't have the X-factor bowlers who can change games. That puts your batsmen under a lot more pressure because they know that you have to get lots more runs to give your bowlers something to bowl at.
"If they'd have got 300 a few years ago, they knew that Warne and McGrath would get them back in the game but now they need 400 plus to really put England under pressure."
Vaughan is optimistic about England's chances but warned they must hit the ground running in the series opener in Brisbane, starting on November 25.
"They can win it," said the 36-year-old, who scored three centuries Down Under in the 2002-03 series.
"It's our most realistic chance since 1987. For so many years it seemed that they didn't know how to lose but they do now.
"The likes of Graeme Swann, Kevin Pietersen, Stuart Broad and Andrew Strauss are real match-winners and we therefore have a great chance.
"I see whoever wins that match in Brisbane going on to win the series.
"Australia have a great record in Brisbane. They haven't been beaten in 23 years.
"They will probably go in with four seamers because that's how conditions will suit. (Nathan) Hauritz won't play and the likes of Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle will come in. They will be key to the outcome of the series too."