Punter under pressure

Cricket legend Dennis Lillee believes that skipper Ricky Ponting and the national side will be 'under the hammer' should Australia not reclaim the Ashes this summer.

Lillee , who took 355 wickets in his 70-Test career, is considered one of the most-respected people in the game, and made it clear after Australia lost the Ashes series in England 2-1 last year that he thought Ponting did not handle the pressures of the job.

"Ponting is a great player, I love watching him play (but) his captaincy needs to improve from the last Ashes when he was under pressure," Lillee told SEN Radio

"Anyone can be a captain against minnows - it's not a captain that makes a great side it's a great side that makes a great captain."

But Lillee said that it will not just be Ponting who comes under scrutiny should Australia not reclaim the famous urn - with the first Test starting Brisbane in November.

"I don't think he's terrible, but I didn't think he captained well at times against England," he said.

"(But) there was pressure on and that's where it counts so if there is again this time and he doesn't come through he will obviously be under the hammer. So will all the players."

The champion fast bowler also said that while he expects Glenn McGrath to prove to everyone in the upcoming series against England that he deserves his mantle as the best bowler of his pace Australia has ever produced, he has tipped speedsters Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie to have an impact this summer.

"It wouldn't surprise me if Glenn came back as good as ever," said Lillee of the New South Welshman who has missed most of this year due to his wife's battle with cancer.

"And it also wouldn't surprise me if Lee improves again from his last improvement where he has shouldered the attack in the past 12 months.

"If (those two) are firing and that unbelievable bloke Shane Warne has even a mediocre series, then we are going to be hard to beat.

"Gillespie lost a yard both ways last year, length and speed, but I thought he was injured over there … he wasn't throwing that well from the boundary and that indicates a problem.

"But I think he is one of the fittest guys going and is a real threat for this coming series."

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