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Ponting understands the press game

I had the chance to listen to Ricky Ponting's press conference yesterday and I was impressed by his combination of honesty and tact. I don't especially like the guy, but it was refreshing to hear one piece of level-headedness in particular.

There was a lot of talk in both Ponting and Strauss' conferences about 'aura', and whether Australia have lost it. Strauss said they had. The Telegraph, and probably numerous other papers as well, splashed this across six pages, most of which were dedicated to calling Strauss a silly boy and telling him to do his talking on the field. Some of these words came from Geoffrey Boycott, who should perhaps heed his own advice and shut the hell up, or at least do the tiniest bit of research before putting his uninformed views to press.

The reason I say this is because Strauss didn't come out with a prepared statement that Australia had lost their aura. He was asked whether he thought they had, and said yes. Which is true. They have. He also made it clear that this was in no way an insult to the Australian team; merely an inevitable consequence of the players being so new to Test cricket. The 'offending' statement can be seen on video here.

The point is that Strauss was only answering a question, not making a statment of his own. That's not arrogant, or foolish. It's honest. And yes, they do differ sometimes.

So where does Ponting come into this? Because he was asked four or five questions about what Strauss said, and after answering straight questions with straight answers - such as saying England didn't have an aura themselves, a statement he only made when asked that specific question - he questioned the context of Strauss' statement.

Was Strauss asked a direct question about Australia's lack of aura, he asked? Yes, he was told. Well, Ponting said, we can't take that out of context then, can we? He was just answering a question. We all have to do that. You have to be careful: the press will blow things out of proportion.

And he was right.


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Ponting understands the press game + TIME