Former Australian captain Mark Taylor has taken aim at the two most recent holders of the position, with the simmering feud between Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke showing no sign of abating.
The bitterness growing between the duo, emanating from comments Ponting made in his new autobiography, threatens to overshadow the lead-up to the Ashes series.
Taylor, considered Australia’s premier leader of the modern era, says the matter should have been resolved in the change room not in public.
Taylor said Ponting had failed to recognise the sanctity of the Australian changeroom and even suggested the country’s leading run scorer in all forms of the game had exploited the situation for the sake of book sales.
“The disappointing thing for me was that this wasn’t left in the change room and it wasn’t sorted out in the change room,” Taylor told Triple M.
“Look, to me it takes two to tango – I reckon Michael Clarke probably could have done more to appease the situation, and from what I’ve seen and read and heard in recent times, there’s no doubt Ricky Ponting could have done more as well.”
In his new autobiography, At The Close of Play, Ponting has offered a less than favourable appraisal of Clarke, in particular his attitude under him as vice-captain and his ill-fated soap opera relationship with Lara Bingle.
Clarke bristled at a press conference on Tuesday when asked about his reaction to Ponting’s comments: “Ricky said that did he? Well, Ricky has my number,” he said.
Ponting has reaffirmed his comments in his efforts to promote the book and Clarke said at a sponsor’s function last week that Ponting could “have approached me personally” about the concerns he has raised.
And now Taylor, who was Australian Test captain from 1994 to 1999, before Steve Waugh took over and was followed also by Ponting from 2003 to 2011, who handed the nation’s top job to Clarke, has weighed into the debate.
The drama has afforded priceless publicity for Ponting’s 699-page tome but Taylor said Ponting should have omitted those thoughts from the book, as Taylor did from his own autobiography, Time to Declare, in the best interests of the national team.
“I wrote an autobiography the year I retired, and there are times where you think to yourself, ‘well there is a story there I could possibly tell,’ but to me it wasn’t worth the headline,” Taylor said.
“I don’t think the public needs to hear everything that goes on no matter how close a team is or how close you think all the individuals are at various times.
“There are certain bust-ups at various times and they should be handled straight away, handled properly with adult conversations, and then you should move on.”