Ricky Ponting is in a position not experienced by an Australian Captain since Allan Border took the reins of a down and out XI in the Eighties.
Mark Taylor was handed the most important job in the country and a team that had talent and confidence, he was a ruthless attacking captain that backed himself and his team and exploited it talents perfectly.
Steven Waugh is perhaps Australian cricket's luckiest captain, presiding over arguably its best team ever and with Australian cricket's best brain standing in the slips on hand to turn to if and when needed.
We will never know if he was any good as a captain because my Sicilian Great-Grandmother (who's only knowledge of cricket was how to roast them when times were tough) could have led the side with as much distinction.
Ponting took over a hugely successful team with massive amounts of experience to draw on and like any astute and wise leader was not backward in seeking advice both on and off the field.
The team bears no resemblance now to the great teams of the recent years and hundreds of tests worth of experience have been lost. As any-one would expect the team had to go backward before it went forward again.
After a fantastic battle in Australia that could have gone either way and success in the first two tests in South Africa (unexpected by most) a few things have been noticed.
Ponting seems now a General on the field; Gone are the on field discussions between overs and out come the attacking field settings and bowling changes with an authoritarian wave, point nod or word. Ponting is a man in control of his team and his destiny, he has his "own" team now and has had a large hand in shaping it.
Watching on the news at training, he was standing in the umpires position watching both bat and ball, giving encouragement, dispensing advice, "feeling his team", watching, thinking.
Hearing him arrive on the Afican continent with words like "confidence", "attacking" and "positive" it was clear to see that he is taking on the challenge ahead of him when others might have hedged by saying things like "re-building" "inexperienced" and "green"
We are on the way to learning just how good he is and the evidence is looking good.