South Africa in Australia, 2012-13

Ponting puts 'lowlight' behind him

Brydon Coverdale in Brisbane

November 6, 2012

Comments: 73 | Text size: A | A

Ricky Ponting trudges off after being dismissed for a duck, South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Johannesburg, 2nd day, November 18, 2011
"The frustrating thing for me was that I identified it really early in the series and I was training really hard and trying to rectify it and still getting out the same way" © Getty Images
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In South Africa this time last year, Ricky Ponting's days as a Test batsman appeared to be rapidly dwindling. At 36, he was enduring the leanest patch of his long career, having not scored a Test century for nearly two years. Such slumps are usually terminal for batsmen in their late thirties. The chances of him making it all the way through the 2011-12 Australian summer appeared slim. The chances of him being part of the side for this year's home series against Graeme Smith's men seemed to be almost non-existent.

Ponting confident of fitness

  • Ricky Ponting is confident the hamstring niggle that required him to be withdrawn from Tasmania's Sheffield Shield match on Friday won't affect his chances of playing at the Gabba. Ponting batted in the nets on Tuesday and will increase his workload over the remainder of the week. "I did everything that was required today," Ponting said. "I've been pretty confident from the last three days, since the end of the Shield game in Hobart. I didn't do any running today. I was limited with what I could do in the nets but that was just precautionary. With two days to go training-wise before the Test, I'll ramp things up tomorrow, do a little bit of running tomorrow and batting against the bowlers and then top things up on Thursday but so far I'm very positive."

Fast forward 12 months and Ponting is not only part of the team, he is its form batsman. David Warner and Michael Hussey have had scant first-class preparation. Michael Clarke has had some starts for New South Wales without going on. Ed Cowan hasn't reached 50 in his four Sheffield Shield games this summer. Meanwhile, Ponting has piled up the runs for Tasmania and is on top of the Shield run tally with 355 at 118.33.

Most importantly, he has fixed a technical flaw that was undermining his entire game. On Melbourne Cup day last year, Ponting shuffled across his stumps in Potchefstroom and was lbw to Vernon Philander for 2. He went on to be dismissed cheaply in the same way in three of the four Test innings that followed, once by Philander and twice by Dale Steyn. It was a trigger movement that was threatening to end his career.

"It was technical. You don't go from playing the way I was playing to getting hit on the pad as often as I was without something being wrong," Ponting said in Brisbane on Tuesday. "The frustrating thing for me through that period was that I identified it really early in the series and I was training really hard and trying to rectify it and still getting out the same way. It just took a long time to break the habit that I was in and the cycle I was in.

"I'm doing things a little bit differently at training now, with the way that I train and prepare. Some of the drills that I'm working on have made me feel a lot better balanced at the crease and certainly not getting hit on the pad as much as I was 12 months ago. My pre-ball movements were a little bit earlier than what they normally were. I was trying to move early to give myself a little bit more time but it was actually having a detrimental effect. I was actually moving too early and locking off and not being able to move again after that."

Gradually, he worked out how to address the problem and the runs piled up during the home series against India in December and January, when he made 62, 60, 134, 7, 221 and 60 not out. He made more runs in that series than he had in his previous four series combined. Ponting has tried not to look back at that South African tour too often since then, but he concedes that things couldn't have gotten much worse.

"There's no doubt it was a lowlight," he said. "I was training really hard and not getting the results I was after. At that stage where I was batting we needed to be getting results if the team was going to win games. Whenever you fail it's not just about you, it's about feeling like you've let your team-mates and your mates down. It was a low moment.

"I batted my way back in the second innings of that last Test match over there and then started the series well here against New Zealand and things turned around in the summer. Pretty much from the end of that series in South Africa until now I've been a pretty consistent run scorer in all the games I've played. Some of the things I'm working on are starting to pay dividends."

Now, Ponting finds himself preparing to take on Steyn, Philander and Morne Morkel once again, this time at the Gabba, a venue that fast bowlers always enjoy. Steyn is the ICC's No.1-ranked Test bowler and Philander, who debuted in Cape Town during last year's series against Australia, has rocketed to No.2, while Morkel sits at No.9. Ponting said despite the class of South Africa's attack, Australia's experience at the Gabba would hold them in good stead.

"We know the ball swings around a little bit up here. All of our batsmen have played enough here to know how to combat it," he said. "They're all good bowlers and their records speak for themselves, especially over the last couple of years. Philander burst onto the scene last year.

"We've played a lot against Morkel over the years and had a reasonable record against him, us as a team, and Steyn is one of the best bowlers of the last four or five years. The thing about their attack is they're all different bowlers. They're all slightly different and that makes a good attack. There's not much opportunity for our batsmen to relax but that's what Test cricket is all about."

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Meety on (November 8, 2012, 10:28 GMT)

@200ondebut on (November 07 2012, 07:58 AM GMT) - "... would have had better stats than the Don if they had played in the same era..." - load of garbage fella! Sachin doesn't even have the best stats in his own team (i.e Dravid) - let alone the world. I am a SRT fan - but you are living in a fools paradise if you think anything other than Sachin is only in the running for SECOND best batsmen of all time! Sachin the batsmen in the era of uncovered pitches, bodyline, light bats that aren't sprung like the monsters of today - would be lucky to average in the 40s. There is a reason why ALL knowledgeable followers of the game accept Bradman as the greatest - because he was. The gap between him & the next best of his era - would be like (in todays terms) Sachin averaging 65 & Kallis/Punter & Dravid averaging 40. I think Sachin is a champ - but buddy you are dreaming!

Posted by   on (November 7, 2012, 10:01 GMT)

I would not write off a player of Pontings calibre. He has proven himself over a long period. Hopefully we get him out cheaply and win the series.

Why do Indians always want to force Tendulkar's invinsibility down our throat. We all see his batting and form at the moment and he is hurting his average every game. I say retire while on top. We were privilaged to see players like tendulkar, ponting, kallis, lara, Viv Richards play this game we love.

And yes I don't think Tendulkar is the greatest batsman who walked this planet. There are others who played less games and averaged more and some did not even get a chance to further their international game.

Posted by stone-mason on (November 7, 2012, 9:37 GMT)

Ladies & Gents, we are all lovers of the great game and ardent supporters of what is normally produced through diligent, perservering and focussed effort of talent and planning all culminating from hours of laboured training and practice session, let alone the commitment and dedication. If cricket is summised by all the adjectives I mentioned and you possibly agree, then why are we sledging the preference of one player to the next. I'm a Saffa and would appreciate a Punter failing, but to be honest, I wont be surprised if he's a major contributor to the result of the series because he is indeed a GREAT Player. Yes, maybe not as fearsome as in the past but still GREAT. This test series I think most would agree is finely balanced, meaning players of equal or close to equal measure. Sachin is not part of this one lads, let it be with ST being better then RP? As for the shouts of patriotism from my base - Go Boys - play your hearts out and enjoy every min of testing dual - God's Fav& Bless

Posted by Pappu_bhai on (November 7, 2012, 8:41 GMT)

Thumpin Win:Even with current form Sachin is above Ponting.Its not because Ponting is bad but he is the worst among any batters currently.With his current batting form he cant even find a place in minnow SL team.Whereas Sachin can find place in any team even now.So in short Sachin is always better than Ponting who is just a liablity.Hope you understand the above details and act sensibly further.

Posted by 200ondebut on (November 7, 2012, 7:58 GMT)

Tendulkar was a better player than Ponting (and would have had better stats than the Don if they had played in the same era) - all the stats point to that (and of course Ponting didn't have to play against two of the greatest bowlers of all time - Warne and McGrath - or one of the most dominant sides) . They are both though past their best and should consider retiring gracefully - leaving at the top of their games - rather than being remembered for a series of poor performances and then being dropped.

Posted by ThumpingWin on (November 7, 2012, 6:55 GMT)

To all the guys chirping about ponting's poor form, telling him to retire, Can't face dale morkel veron, sachin is greatest and specially indian fans.. Firstly poor form hits everyone that includes dravid kallis and other greats.. Secondly now u are saying he cant face dale and co he has played better bowlers on tesing pitches and scored runs.. Sachin fans please grow up check sachin out he is a BURDEN to his team right now he should retire enuf of talking about his records then check his current form nw he can hardly score.. Indian fans u need to learn against india ponting has scored most of his runs so u all please better shut out.. CHEERS Ponting u are a true legend u always have played for ur team first not like sachin playing for records...You will always be a hero always.. Best of luck PUNTER hope u score plenty :):):)

Posted by vj_gooner on (November 7, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

The key is the first innings of the first test, if Punter can get a decent 50+ score then I'm sure "The Punter" can end the series on a high!

Posted by anver777 on (November 7, 2012, 3:55 GMT)

If Sachin is the god of Ind......... then Ponting is the legend of Aus who will be remembered for ever by all !!!!!

Posted by Mary_786 on (November 7, 2012, 0:04 GMT)

Guys this article is not about who is better between Punter and Sachin, both are greats of the game and we should leave it at that.

Posted by Alexk400 on (November 6, 2012, 20:24 GMT)

He will get out same way to philander. Its not techhnical issue at all. It is his body is weaker by age. It can not be hidden or corrected. He will get into same spot he gets out. Some batsman are bunnies to some bowlers. You can not over analyse things . For aussies there is no cure as young blood eager to prove their mettle. I am not sure ponting is finished. He is a fighter but no one can defeat age slowing you down. The reason sachin last longer because he saves his energy and grind and gather runs than score. Ponting score runs and he attacks that takes lots of energy and he consumes so much pressure too. He probably best batsman in the world when he is in form above laura and ponting both played for their own stats and ponting played to win.

Posted by SnowSnake on (November 6, 2012, 19:35 GMT)

I don't buy anything about Ponting's form. He was the best batsmen between 2004-2008. After that, he is about average. He will average around 40 in this series with a strike rate of around 48%. He will get beaten outside off stump several times, make wierd faces, spit on his hands, argue with umpires etc. Nothing will be new that we have not seen before.

Posted by popcorn on (November 6, 2012, 19:17 GMT)

This FANCY that some former cricketers like Geoff Lawson and Dean Jones and some cricket fans have for knocking off cricketers at the age of 35 / 36 has forever foxed me. Today, Ricky Ponting has shwmn that he is indispensable in the Australian Line - Up,and the way things are going, he will play in The Ashes Series 2013 -14 in the home summer.The "new" finds - Shaun Marsh,Usman Khawaja,Peter Forrest,Phil Hughes, Steve Smith, have proven to be "One Test Wonders". I predict Ricky Ponting will rack up a couple of centuries against South Africa in this series.

Posted by Sunny359 on (November 6, 2012, 17:30 GMT)

Go Ponting Go.. I will pray to god u get most runs in the series and help oz win the series...

Posted by philvic on (November 6, 2012, 17:13 GMT)

cant stop father time. Ponting was a true great of the game but tempus fugit. It may be tempting fate to say it but as an SA fan I would rather have Ponting in Aussie side then Khawaja. Having said that, I wouldnt be surprised if he manages to put together one or two scores but like Tendulkar, the days of domination appear to be over.

Posted by Chan1966 on (November 6, 2012, 17:08 GMT)

It seems that most Indian fans want to see Ponting retired from international cricket. The reason is crystal clear. Ponting still has the chance of overcoming the Tendulkar's record of 51 test centuries. Can one forget how he smashed the poor Indian bowling while making an unbeaten 140 in the 2003 world cup final in South Africa.I'm not a Ponting fan but I've to admit that he is one of the greatest of all time.He hammered a double hundred and hundred even when he was not in good touch against the so called No. one side last year. He has scored hundreds in all parts of the world and I still remember his magnificent knock of 103 not out against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka in a spin friendly wicket in 1999 and he scored another fluent knock of 96 in the same series at Asgiriya stadium when Aussies were reeling at 60 for 7. Every great batsmen has had a lean patch during their careers. I hope he will come back with a vengeance in this series. It's difficult erase the bad memories - 4/0 drub.

Posted by Selassie-I on (November 6, 2012, 16:05 GMT)

Hopefully Punter does the right thing and just hangs up his bat on a good note, he's stopping all these amazing young Aussie batsmen coming through..... oh hold on, who are they again?

Posted by Selassie-I on (November 6, 2012, 16:04 GMT)

Posted by Rajesh_india_1990 on (November 06 2012, 14:03 PM GMT) - Few points to make about your statement - He certainly didn't 'get all his runs on flat tracks' he played on uncovered pitches I take it you have never heard of a sticky wicket? He didn't play as many tests as there wasn't as many tests, a tour to england would be months long, with many games against county sides, various other teams etc. WW2 happened in his career cutting 7 years out of it- not his fault reallY! He also had the bodyline series, where the england basically tried to kill him, he had no helmets etc. and the laws of the game changed beacuse of it! Sachin has also played well over half his matches(113) in the sub-continent, a place where it is notoriousley easier to get runs, due to there being more good batting tracks.

I'm not saying one is better than the other but to say that Tendulkar is better beacuse of a few things that are out of his control and the spurious idea that his runs were easy

Posted by PPD123 on (November 6, 2012, 15:57 GMT)

Scores listed above were against India, which could be hardly an indicator of real form, as India's bowling is nothing more than average at best. The real test/pressure/stress will come when he is batting against Steyn/Morkel/Philander. Given the fact that Watson is out for the 1st test, I see him facing the "newish" ball in both innings. That will be his real test. He seems to be in good form and shape though, but the real test lies ahead. lets talk after the 1st test.

Posted by   on (November 6, 2012, 15:51 GMT)

The India series has given Ponting a false sense of security. Well, SA bowlers will sort him out and he'll be back to being the walking wicket he was for the last few years. Scoring runs in Shield cricket hardly means anything. This is the same tournament that has not produced one quality cricketer for Australia after Michael Clarke.

Posted by Bollo on (November 6, 2012, 15:41 GMT)

@Rajesh. Actually, once in Bradman`s 6 test innings vs India he was dismissed for under 100 - you may have a point.

Posted by Bollo on (November 6, 2012, 15:38 GMT)

@Rajesh_India_1990. So by your logic, Kallis, who averages more than Tendulkar in the subcontinent (60-59), more than Tendulkar in India (72-56) and more than Tendulkar overall (57-55), is the greater batsman?

re.Bradman in the subcontinent. Sure he didn`t tour, but he averaged 180 in 5 tests vs India as a 40-year-old...can`t imagine it would have held too many problems for him. Keep trying hey!

Posted by Aussasinator on (November 6, 2012, 15:25 GMT)

Ponting has been given too long a rope by Australian standards. Infact cricket Australia has suffered him in an Indian manner. If it wasnt for the Indian series where he took advantage of some mindless Indian bowling and poor captaincy, he would have been a closed chapter with his dismal scores over the past 3-4 years. a couple of newcomers have been finished in the meanwhile and he's likely to consume another two at least.

Posted by adrianct1971 on (November 6, 2012, 15:21 GMT)

All said and done - Ponting to me is one of the best batsman to have played the game along with Sachin and Lara in the 90s 2000s. The fact that he is part of 3 world cup winning teams and one as a runner up and also leading them to two of them is one of the best captains. If one were to compared to Lara and Sachin, they both struggled as captain and batsman and in this regard Ponting is way ahead. I personally like to see him succeed against SA and I am sure he will be the leading batsman over the series and after the summer its time to say good bye. Og by the way the only captain to lead most win in ODI teams to world cups without loossing a single game! By the way I m SL and hate the arrogance of Ausssies but one must accept the reality of class of a player. Good luck RP you deserve to go with a bang - and given the history of Aussie selectors I wont be suprised he will be chucked out after the series as I feel the end result will be the same as last series of SA in Aus!

Posted by bouncedout on (November 6, 2012, 15:21 GMT)

I do quite like Ponting. He is always good to listen to and has been one of the great batsman in the modern game. However, I think his time is coming to an end and this series will prove that to him. Aus wickets will suit the SA bowlers down to the ground.

Posted by LazloWoodbine on (November 6, 2012, 14:57 GMT)

@SICHO - Fella, Johan has hit the nail on the head for us SA fans about Ponting. Anyone who ISN'T worried about a batsman of his class and record would be naive. As for comparing Strauss to Ponting, I doubt anyone would put them in the same class, certainly not anyone in the SA team. Like him or not, Ponting has been one of the best to grace the Test arena, and we SAns need to show some respect without being over-awed.

Posted by bonobo on (November 6, 2012, 14:25 GMT)

Pontings record has delined to that of a decent batsman at best, home and away. his best inings have been hardwork. With the exception of the Indian series. i dont doubt if settled, punter can still build a big score, but I think Clarkes determination to look after him has lead to a poor strategy in Australias batting. By dropping out of the Top3, Australia lower middle order now consists of its most experienced batsman, whilst various newcomers are rotated at the top of order. Even more, Clarke the teams batsman, is coming in at 5, after a mixture of the virgin and the infirm. As it is, no new middle order batsmen have been blooded as Punter and Hussey close in on their last 12-18months, the top 3 remains an odd an vulnerable mix. At least i think they could switch Ponting and Clarke, it would benefit both of them for this series

Posted by Rajesh_india_1990 on (November 6, 2012, 14:03 GMT)

Even Bradman is not a greatest batsman ever.A yardstick for the overseas batsman is to play well in the SUBCONTINENT.He never played in subcontinent.Look at australia's fast track ponting.Look at his average in india.It is very poor.Bradman maintains his average in those fast tracks and also he played one format only and played very less tests matches.For example if i play one test and score 200 runs in one innings and my average will be 200.Can i say i am the greatest batsman ever ?.The greatest batsman ever to hold the bat is absolutely SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR.More than 190 tests with 15k runs with 55average,450+odis with 18k runs with 44 average,and an unimaginable 100 centuries.played in all conditions,averages more or less 50 in all conditions,played against all time great bowlers,played against more than 200 bowlers,played over 23 years (which is my age).With huge expectations,media pressure and in all aspects sachin is the greatest batsman ever to hold the bat.

Posted by   on (November 6, 2012, 13:55 GMT)

What nonesense !!! His last Test Tour to the WI, with their limited bowling attack, saw him struggling big time. His tank is bare, and its time to go. He was undoubtly one of the best , one of my favourites, but even to the best, there comes a time when its time to say goodbye. He is taking the risk of being dropped, and to be embarrased by CA. Just like he was dropped for the ODI's. How he will sustain a Steyn, Morkel, Philander attack is anyones' guess. He should NOT go out the Ali way. Its' a shame, but I will bet anyone he doesn't last the Test Series.

Posted by aby_prasad on (November 6, 2012, 13:43 GMT)

All said and done, Ricky majestic Ponting , knows that he plays for the aussie team not the indian team and he doesnt have the luxury of a 'out of form' streak and still be in the team and he knows it pretty well! lol. And what the hell is tendulkar doing here in this comments column?,.. AGAIN. cant believe both us indians and aussies fall for that every time! its like that loki dialogue in avengers, 'cant believe u fall for that everytime' hahaha. Seriously it feels sad that the glory days of the gr8est batsmen ever are coming to an end :(. Ooof i hope all of u remember the power and passion we had when lara,sachin,ponting,hayden,dravid were roaring!

Posted by stFleming on (November 6, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

Ha..Ha..Really funny...people saying Kallis will score more runs than Ponting....NEVER...Punter is in supreme form and when he attacks, no one can compete him...Not even Sachin Endulkar...

Posted by stFleming on (November 6, 2012, 13:03 GMT)

Ricky Ponting u r a champion...Lets hope Ricky scores atleast two centuries against South Africa...Punter would likely be wanting to take revenge from South Africa on his last year's dismal performance...

Posted by brusselslion on (November 6, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

I think that we can look forward to seeing Ponting and Hussey for a few more years yet. Let's face it, there is no one remotely good enough to replace them.

Posted by lifeisagame on (November 6, 2012, 12:04 GMT)

@ Imsrk

Dude, no, just no...Its true that he had a circle of THE best players of their generation around him, but that doesn't take anything away from Ponting's brilliance. A class act, that is what he is.

As to his current form, if one were to go simply by the way he scored against India, then one would be better off knowing that we, Indian team, have a reputation of bringing out the best in the opposing batsmen and that is not because they badly want to excel against us but merely because we have an attack that at best good enough to play Ranji cricket and nothing more than that. Quite a few batsmen have rediscovered themselves against us only to retire after having a disappointing series or two against other countries.

Posted by OZ_CRICKETLOVER on (November 6, 2012, 11:59 GMT)

Come on !!! PUNTER Bring back d ASHES in 2013

Posted by Romanticstud on (November 6, 2012, 11:51 GMT)

How can one predict Punters fate ... South Africa are very inconsistant with bat in hand ... on one day they can make 600 odd for 2 declared ... on another day all out for 90 odd ... Kallis has been recently on a hit or miss mission ... He can make 224 ... then 0 ... if you take his average since the beginning of 2011 of scores under 50 it is 11 ... but then 50+ his average is 210 ... Ponting has 16.6 and 104.85 for the same period ... which indicates more consistency ... Michael Clarke has 17.15 and 179 ... overall the numbers are 64.26 - Kallis ... 56 - Clarke ... 44.68 - Punter ... But then that can all change at the drop of a cricket ball ... Punter is due for runs ... so was KP in England and see what happened there against Steyn ... I say 2-1 Australia ...

Posted by Cricket_Critics on (November 6, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

Ponting is a Legend and Class player. but with repect to SRT why is he fecilitated with an Aussie Award ?????

Posted by Percy_Fender on (November 6, 2012, 11:38 GMT)

Ricky Ponting is an ll time great regardless of how he plays against the 'best attack of the world'. It really does'nt matter even if this is indeed his swansong. He has served Australia like no other batsman has in the last decade and a half much like Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman have served India and enabled them to reach the top of the ICC rankings. Ponting as a captain had the services of some of the greatest players Australia has known and so we cannot really say how good he was a s captain despite his many wins. His reflexes would definitely have slowed down with the passage of time even if his mind may still be the same. Like if a ball is short, Ricky will hook. But that split second of delay may be fatal. Similarly the long front foot stride as a reflex action may be there. But there may be that momentary indecision of line.That is part of the aging process. Ricky Ponting will always be great for me even if like I believe everyone is, he reacts like a normal mortal in 2012.

Posted by No_1_again on (November 6, 2012, 11:17 GMT)

Pointing is real player who plays for the team and the country not like the others who plays for their self-fish stats. How can you compare him against those "so-called" demi gods. He still have ability to score 100+ runs. I would like to see him retire after we re-gain the ASHES in 2013. Go Punter.

Posted by krish_5883 on (November 6, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

Ponting is Greater Cricketer and Match winning player in the world. Come on Ponting I am indian But I like ponting game

Posted by   on (November 6, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

ricky u r simply superb waiting to see ponting at his best common aussie!!! gotto feel for watto

Posted by reddawn1975 on (November 6, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

Classic comments Imsrk you are obvisously a close observer of the game Ricky Ponting is pure class just like Tendulkar Lara and Kallis show some respect.Go ricky your an Aussie CHAMP

Posted by SICHO on (November 6, 2012, 11:00 GMT)

@Johan Theron- say you're worried about Ponting and don't say we SA fans are. Remember Strauss? The "inform" Strauss against the West Indies. Well his best score against us was 37, and at the end of the series he retired.

Posted by   on (November 6, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

As an admirer of Ponting's class, I really want Punters to continue his form as same as he did against India... Big time for him and his career... I want to see him forward in the Ashes.... Good Luck SA....

Posted by Bollo on (November 6, 2012, 10:53 GMT)

@CheckIf...Actually he has averaged 43 over his last 50 tests. Yes, that`s well below his career average, and he`s had some poor series in that time - hardly a mediocre return though. Unlike the bowling stocks there seem to be few people putting up their hands for his spot.

Certainly at this stage his spot in the team is well-deserved, although this will be a huge challenge. Love to see him score some runs! I`m sure England have other things on their mind at the moment than Ponting.

Posted by Gordo85 on (November 6, 2012, 10:45 GMT)

Fingers crossed that Kallis does better than Ponting in this series. I find it very annoying when so many people in and around cricket use this excuse "We don't have any good batsmen to replace Ponting and Hussey with" What a biggest joke of all time. At some stage these players will need to be replaced no question about it. I find it very frustrating though that all they are doing is blocking the younger batsmen to even have a chance to play Test cricket. Cosgrove is 28 and Ferguson is 27 but soon to be 28 in other words they are getting on in age. Not only that but they both have international experience in ODI format though. But I am sure that Cricket Australia will do it's best to block them coming through to make way for Khawaja who has had Test experience before but so far has failed.(by the way his FC average is 42.84 and Cosgrove FC average is 43.73) They will proberly try to go for Smith and Khawaja.

Posted by DaisonGarvasis on (November 6, 2012, 10:24 GMT)

Ponting in full flow at home, SA will have a handful.

Posted by mthi4life on (November 6, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

Ponting,Clerk,Hussey,Two of them must do well and the other guys will follow,I hope Ponting is not in form in this series because if he is, then Australia will be take the no.1 ranking.

Posted by Nerk on (November 6, 2012, 9:56 GMT)

@Imsrk - Woah, steady there mate. Punter has scored more test runs than you and has been pretty darn consistent over the last fifteen years. People who average 50 in test cricket cannot be all that overrated. Having said that, Punter needs to prove himself against the best bowling attack in the world. Whilst he had a good series against India last year, he had a poor one against the Windies with only one 50 in 6 innings, and Roach had his number. Now he is up against the premier attack in the world, who with the exception of Tahir, will test him every ball. This does not mean he will fail, but he should probably refrain from commenting on his form. Head down, eye on the ball Punter.

Posted by Charlie101 on (November 6, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

@Imsrk I think most Sunday morning cricketers can play Harbejan now a days without too much trouble and I believe Ponting could play him in his sleep. As an England cricket fan it would be good to see him in the Aussie team for the next Ashes series as it is always good to see him play.

Posted by Porky_PigTheToon on (November 6, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

Waiting for the day, when Ponting and Sachin will together with drinks in their hands, will look @ each other and laugh their --- off ! :D

Posted by SurlyCynic on (November 6, 2012, 9:26 GMT)

More chest beating from Punter and the Aussies. Talk about overconfidence. I think the series will be much closer than they seem to be predicting.

Posted by Buckers410 on (November 6, 2012, 9:24 GMT)

C'mon Punter, we want a massive series from you (and the whole team) but your the man!!!!

Posted by warneneverchuck on (November 6, 2012, 9:22 GMT)

Just an overrated player who can't play even bowler like harbhajan. Was lucky to be a part of great team

Posted by FazleAbed on (November 6, 2012, 9:18 GMT)

Possible line ups let see on paper who win. 1. Warner vs Smith- Simth 2. Ed cowan vs Piterson - Cowan. 3. Rob/watson vs Amla - amla. 4 Ponting vs Kalis- Draw (I dont want to write Kalis) 5 Clark vs ab- clark (But ab can do anything. 6. Hussy vs Rudolp- hussy 7. Wade vs Duminy-Duminy, 8 Lyon vs tahir- Lyon, 9. Strac vs Styne- Styne 10. Ben vs Morkel- Morkel, 11 Philindar vs Pattinson/siddle- I doubt but i want pattinson/siddle record says philinder. Score saf 7 australia 4. and in Saf wins are big number. In paper saf will win 3-0 two tough fights. but Australia can do anything.

Posted by   on (November 6, 2012, 9:17 GMT)

ricky is the one of the best bats man to whom we can believe then any other bats man in australia so he should be in test side till the ashes finish

Posted by FazleAbed on (November 6, 2012, 9:06 GMT)

Ponting and Hussy should retire after 2013 ashes. Australia failed to produce good quality batsman for last 2-3 years. after the retirement of Hayden-Langer(Open), then Martin (Middle order) Gilcrist (WK and Lower Middle order) look the replacement. Phil Jaques, Huges (Attractive when they score which is rare), Shawn Marsh (Massive Disapoinment with the talent he got), Usman Khawaja (a lot to prove). Australia tried smith, white to replace warne, (That was a clear joke), Maxwell (He is not at all inspiring) Piter forest (Where he is), now look at the side 1. Ed Cowan (Chappel brothers/ego aussies wont let him in) 2. Warner (Long race horse future captain) 3. watson (Current best player but how many years he will fit) 4. Ponting (Best player in australia for last 12 years will retire soon) 5. Clarke (Captain and Inspiring) 6. Hussy (Mr. Cricket but 1-2 years more) 7. Wade (Where is tim Pain?). who is here to inspire australia?

Posted by Pappu_bhai on (November 6, 2012, 9:04 GMT)

Johny If thats the case then am better than Bradman.Think wisely before commenting.Actually I like Gilchrist and maybe for you you may like haddin.It doesnt mean Haddin is better than Gilly.And if you told i will simply sit and laugh thinking about your cricket sense.Same case in Ponting and Sachin comparison.

Posted by   on (November 6, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

Fear of an individual's possible effect on a game is always a measure of the respect that one has for that player. If you fear the possible effect, you expect it quite possible that he may effect situations to your detriment. I am sure most South African supporters, of who I am one, are still concerned about the effect that Ponting may have on a game, and then the series.

KP had a single great innings in England, and that created a chance of a draw in the series. A short, three game series allows for this. Ponting, when on song, can have the same effect on this series if he gets it right in one innings as KP did earleir this year.

SA fans are still worried about what Ponting may do...

Posted by DINESHCC on (November 6, 2012, 8:44 GMT)

Ponting please don't retire. But better skip this series and you come back to the 2013 India Series so that you can make 4 double hundreds against India's "GREAT BOWLING ATTACK".

Posted by slow.mo on (November 6, 2012, 8:40 GMT)

Don't worry about Ricky breaking Sachin's record. Thats not what Ricky plays for. He plays for the win for the team.

Posted by   on (November 6, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

"Form is Temporary, but Class is permanent," Come on Punter you are the best batsman in World now, You must play till 2014-2015 Ashes....

Posted by sawifan on (November 6, 2012, 8:25 GMT)

A legend of cricket, plain and simple. While obviously not as good as the past, he still offers a lot to the team as he showed last summer. Those dual 60's in the first test were quite crucial to AUS's win and their following confidence and dominance. He has shown so far this year in Shield cricket that he is still one of the best bats in Oz (though that fact is worrying at the same time; the cupboard does appear a bit bare). Will be interesting how he fares in his 1st Aussie summer as a Test-only player. I'm predicting a solid showing vs SAF and a mauling of SRL. Go Punter!!!

Posted by Beertjie on (November 6, 2012, 8:22 GMT)

Partly agree with you @Maxim Payne. But when you write "you can't complain that there are better batsmen waiting in the ranks" you've got to be realistic. They are on a downward curve so it's better to replace them, but not both at once. If Punter doesn't shape up against the Saffers, tap him on the shoulder, five him a homecoming finale in Hobart against the Lankans, and move on.

Posted by gsingh7 on (November 6, 2012, 8:14 GMT)

overrated batter in local conditions , harby made him his bunny by spinning him around, he cant touch sachins legendary status, if sachin is god than punter is a mortal human being

Posted by   on (November 6, 2012, 7:43 GMT)

I think all this retirement talk is rubbish, has anyone noticed that he is leading the shield averages this year. While his test form has been a little mediocre in the last few years you can't complain that there are better batsmen waiting in the ranks. He and Hussey must be discarded if they can't find form this summer though.

Posted by wrighty1012 on (November 6, 2012, 7:36 GMT)

@pappu_bhai do you realise the flaws in that comment? The article says he is the leading run scorer in arguably the best domestic cricket competition in the world. He also averaged 80+ in the Indian series last summer. How can you possibly say he isn't good enough?

Posted by   on (November 6, 2012, 7:19 GMT)

Punter will decide when he should retire or not . if sachin ( 39 years ) can play , then y can't punter play .Punter is better than sachin

Posted by   on (November 6, 2012, 7:04 GMT)

It seems remote that he can surpass Sachin's record !

Posted by Pappu_bhai on (November 6, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

Ponting Plz retire.You are not good enough to play any sort of cricket now.You know the truth.All Ausise knew the truth.So it would be better to quit batting and take some Coaching role as serious.I dont think Ponting will be back.He will be a liablity for Ausise till he resign.So better stop playing or else they will throw you out of the team.

Posted by RD36 on (November 6, 2012, 6:59 GMT)

Punter is class, and class always tells. He still has some good cricket left in him...

Posted by CheckIfTheScreenNameAlreadyInUse on (November 6, 2012, 6:57 GMT)

Ricky Ponting averages 40 in the last 50 tests - that's right FIFTY. This is after the productive season he had against India's popgun attack last year. Take that out and his average drops to mid 30s. No amount of spin is going to change the fact that Ponting has been mediocre for YEARS now. This South African series will see him exposed again and then one against SL will have him back to scoring runs. England will dearly hope Australians retain him for Ashes.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (November 6, 2012, 6:46 GMT)

Interesting to see just how much Punto has rectified his trigger movement. He was hopeless in SA, kept falling over his pad and getting out LBW. He looks to be in fine form but he is up against a very good bowling attack. Interesting what he says about SAs attack, 'they are all different bowlers' I guess why thats what makes it good, its has variation. Not just 4 fast bowlers bowling at you quickly.

Posted by Chark_attack on (November 6, 2012, 6:45 GMT)

Tipping a huge series from Ricky with the bat will be a great series

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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