Australia news November 2, 2012

Sore Ponting withdraws from Shield match


Ricky Ponting has been pulled out of Tasmania's Sheffield Shield match in Hobart with hamstring soreness, a week before the first Test against South Africa. However, Cricket Australia insisted that Ponting's withdrawal was precautionary only and that he was expected to be fit for the Gabba Test, which begins on Friday.

Ponting developed hamstring soreness during the game against South Australia, which started on Thursday, and on Friday was replaced in the Tigers line-up by Steven Cazzulino. Cricket Australia's executive general manager of team performance, Pat Howard, said Ponting could have played on and Australia were being extra cautious ahead of the Test series.

"This is a precautionary move to ensure Ricky has the best possible preparation for the first Test against South Africa in Brisbane next week," Howard said. "We've opted to withdraw Ricky from the game. If this wasn't a week out from the first Test then Ricky would continue with the match, but we don't want to take that risk. We expect Ricky to be fit for the first Test against South Africa."

Ponting has been the form batsman in the Sheffield Shield this summer, having scored 355 runs at 118.33, and is expected to slot in at No.4 against South Africa. However, he didn't enjoy that same sort of touch on the first day of the game against South Australia, edging behind for 5 having spent most of the cold day standing in the field.

If the Australians were to be without Ponting for the first Test, it is not clear who would replace him in the line-up, with no backup batsman in the Test squad. Of the other batsmen who have worn the baggy green in the past year, Phillip Hughes has made some encouraging scores this summer but failed against the South Africans for Australia A on Friday, Usman Khawaja is still searching for his best form, and Shaun Marsh has been dropped to club cricket.

One option could be Victoria's Rob Quiney, who usually opens but can bat further down the order. After a couple of productive seasons of domestic cricket, Quiney impressed with 85 against the South Africans in the Australia A game, a match in which Steven Smith also showed his improvement. George Bailey would also come into calculations and is a favourite of John Inverarity's selection panel.

Although Ponting is expected to play at the Gabba, the news of his hamstring niggle continued a worrying day for the Australians after the fast bowler Pat Cummins was ruled out for nearly the full 2012-13 season due to a back stress fracture. There were also disappointingly few runs around the states from Australia's Test batsman, with Shane Watson's 33 against Queensland the best score by any of Australia's Test top seven on Friday.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on November 3, 2012, 21:48 GMT

    @ Wozza-CY on (November 03 2012, 01:30 AM GMT) - I agree with what you said re: Doolan. Probably a season too early for him to play the Test team, I have been impressed with some of his innings this season. They looked a cut above most of the other batsmen. (although that can be obvious when you're amongst the leading run scorers).

  • Meety on November 3, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    On a different note, finally seeing what kane Richardson can do!

  • Aussasinator on November 3, 2012, 3:13 GMT

    The Indian bowling and Dhoni's silly captaincy gave Ponting a new lease of life, or else he was finished and buried.

  • Micgyver on November 3, 2012, 2:18 GMT are kidding arnt you, seriously what a joke of a comment.

  • Wozza-CY on November 3, 2012, 1:30 GMT

    @venkat super 11- not sure of the relevance of your 'fruit' analogy? If it's about the batting order, I was making the point that I hope the next person they try starts at no6 just as Ponting, Boon and many before them did. We have placed too much pressure on debutants recently by throwing them in at no3 .@rickyvoncant. Not in a hurry to get rid of Punter, he is definitely the right man for the job...IF fit. The article poses a question of who hypothetically would replace Punter in he wasn't to play. Names were suggested in the article such as Khawaja, Hughes, Quiney, Smith & Bailey. It also details some reasons why they may not be suitable. Doolan has been performing well over the past two seasons and I merely put his name forward as well, but did qualify that by saying it may be a little premature.

  • RVC-38 on November 2, 2012, 23:02 GMT

    Why are some people in such a hurry to get rid of the legend, players like Burns, Khawaja and Doolan are not going anywhere so WHEN he starts failing start calling for he's head, otherwise keep on keeping on Ricky.

  • Venkat_Super_11 on November 2, 2012, 22:32 GMT

    @ Wozza-CY, thankfully you are not in the selection panel. You are comparing apples with oranges.

  • Venkat_Super_11 on November 2, 2012, 22:29 GMT

    I only wish the likes of Mr. Howard to be on India team selection for the betterment of Indian cricket. We, the Indians are unlucky to have such a bold management and we still can only wait after every match for Sachin to leave his spot for some fitting person. But what can we do? After all cricket management also have to survive, cannot ask the so-called God of cricket to leave his space. We are doomed.

  • Cpt.Meanster on November 2, 2012, 22:24 GMT

    hahahahaha... not surprised. Must have ate and slept well and put on some meat eh Punter ?!!

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 2, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    Precautionary rest only... That's good. I hope he's fit and in great form for the first test. Great player, and all those saying he needs to step aside need to have a closer look at the stats of these so-called replacements. Is an average of 36 really comparable to one of 55?

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