Melbourne:Embattled Australian skipper Ricky Ponting got more support from his teammates with his deputy Michael Clarke and opener Simon Katich insisting that the team let him down in the lost Ashes series.
Clarke said leadership was not a matter of concern and the Australian cricket team was firmly behind Ponting.
"I see Ricky as our leader, I don't think it's something we have to worry about at this stage," Clarke said. "Punt's playing fantastic cricket in all forms of the game, I think his series in the Ashes was very good once again. To me, we don't have to worry about that because Ricky is our captain," he was quoted as saying by the 'Sydney Morning Herald'.
"I've learnt a hell of a lot from Ricky already, since I've played international cricket and especially since I've been vice-captain. I hope that relationship continues, the relationship is very good. He is someone I look up to," he added.
Simon Katich sought to defend his under-fire captain, saying the players let him down by failing to perform at crucial moments.
"We probably let him (Ponting) down. We all had opportunities to help him get the right result and we didn't do that," Katich said at a Bradman Foundation lunch to celebrate the legend's 101st birth anniversary.
"I guess, having been involved in 2005, I thought I'd let him and the team down then... this time around, even though the tour went a bit better, I still feel there were things that I could have done better to have helped us win Test matches - and unfortunately I'm going to live to regret that," Katich was quoted as saying in the Australian media.
Clarke, who is in-charge of the Australian ODI team in the absence of Ponting who returns to England for the last four of the seven one-dayers, said he was "more than happy to continue playing under him".
"I'm blessed to get this opportunity when he's not here to get that fill-in role, but Punter's our leader and I'm more than happy to continue playing under him. In my opinion he's certainly one of the best leaders I've played under," Clarke said.
The Australian vice-captain also felt it was unfair to single out Ponting because the entire squad had accepted responsibility for the 2-1 loss to England.
"I think the criticism needs to go to the team, and we all need to accept that. But I know it's not one person's fault. Ricky's been a fantastic leader throughout my whole career. I thought he was inspirational at times during this Ashes series, he wanted to win as much as anybody", he said.
"The one thing Punt's always said is that it's part of the responsibility as a leader and as a senior player, we are going to be more responsible if we don't perform.
"That's another great strength of Ricky's: he does cop it on the chin. He never lets that get in the way of his leadership. It's obviously part of the job, it's part of being a senior player in any good sporting team," he said.
Katich, who has played 43 Tests, said Australia had many good players but they failed at crucial moments.
"Even though they (England) might not have done it consistently throughout the five Tests, they did it at the crunch times when the games were up for grabs. And that's the difference in Test cricket: those moments came around and we didn't grab them," he said.
Katich also backed the selectors and said "they backed us and we didn't get the job done. Criticism is warranted and we have to grin and bear it now."