London:Ricky Ponting is "crap" as captain, never deserved to get the job and has not improved a bit in the five years at the helm, said pace legend Jeff Thomson in a scathing attack on the Australian skipper just days ahead of the Ashes.
"I thought Ricky was crap when he was first captain in 2004 and nothing much has improved since then," said the 58-year-old, 100 of whose 200 Test wickets have come against Ashes rivals England.
"I'm not the only one who thinks that. I've always bagged him and everyone at home thinks he's s**** at the captaincy. He's a great player but captaincy is a totally different thing," he said at a charity dinner here.
Thomson said he couldn't believe when Ponting was picked as captain in 2004.
"I couldn't believe it when he'd been picked as captain. There was no-one else to pick but Ponting still had no experience.
"He'd only captained one side ever before. How did he get to lead Australia with that sort of experience? He was in a side that had very good players and now he's got a side that has average players. He's still left wanting," Thomson said.
Thomson said Ponting's on-field mannerisms are not of a leader and he is the first to panic when the team is in trouble.
"You see it on him - he gets frustrated. He worries when the players don't do what he's used to with the ball when he passes it to them," he said.
"The choices he makes, his field settings and the things he does are never right."
After Ponting, Thomson turned his ire on spinner Nathan Hauritz and said even part-timers like Simon Katich and Michael Clarke stand a better chance of grabbing a wicket.
"... he (Ponting) has got a bloke in there who can't even spin a ball (Nathan Hauritz). Simon Katich and Michael Clarke have more chance of taking a wicket than Hauritz.
"Why go for a guy like that? I don't rate Hauritz," said Thomson.
Thomson, however, still picked Australia as the favourite for the Ashes that starts July 8.
"England have the edge in the captaincy department. But while England have a better captain, Australia have a better line-up."
On Australia's possible line-up for the five-Test series, Thomson said he didn't see pacer Brett Lee finding a place in the side.
"I don't see a place for Brett Lee in this side. He hasn't played for such a long time. Mitchell Johnson is a handy bowler but what's really added another string to his bow is his batting - he's a really good batsman. He bats properly and is a good hitter of the ball. He's got defence and attack."