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Ponting's Ashes avenue kept open

Daniel Brettig

November 27, 2012

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Ricky Ponting is bowled for the second time in the Test, Australia v South Africa, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 3rd day, November 24, 2012
Ricky Ponting has scored only 20 runs in three innings against South Africa © Associated Press
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Selection panel support for Ricky Ponting's place in the Australian Test team remains unanimous, and the coach Mickey Arthur has stated emphatically that the former captain is still a much-needed component in plans for next year's Ashes series.

In a staunch defence of Ponting, Arthur said there had been no discussion about his place in the team in the selection meeting to choose an extended squad for the third Test against South Africa in Perth, and that the panel's eyes were still on Ponting's usefulness over the next six months, leading into the first of two back-to-back bouts with England.

"All I know is inside that dressing room, and privately, we've all backed Ricky Ponting," Arthur said. "If Ricky's scoring runs, we certainly want Ricky Ponting around for the next six months. We want Ricky Ponting to go to the Ashes, there's no doubt about that. Like any batsman, though, you've got to keep scoring runs, and that's by Ricky's own admission. I'm 100% sure and confident Ricky will come through in Perth.

"We're hoping, we back Ricky, we unanimously back Ricky Ponting to get us some runs. By his own admission Perth is a big test for him ... but Ricky's prepared brilliantly, he's really given us everything we can possibly ask for."

Ponting, who has been named captain of the Prime Minister's XI to play West Indies in Canberra on January 29, had said he expected to discuss his future with the selectors ahead of the Perth Test, given a poor run of scores in this series despite entering it as the highest run-scorer in the Sheffield Shield. Ponting seemed bothered by the manner of his dismissals as much as his low scores, possibly intuiting the signs that his famously decisive batting had lost a small but critical measure of sharpness at international level.

Former captain Ian Chappell, still an influential figure in Australian cricket and close to the selector Rod Marsh in particular, believes Perth should be the final stop in Ponting's career, allowing a younger batsman, likely to be Phillip Hughes or Usman Khawaja, to re-establish themselves in the team against Sri Lanka, ahead of assignments in India and England. 


"I think the selectors should say to Ricky Ponting, 'Mate we're happy to give you a fond farewell in Perth, but you've got to announce your retirement before the game', for the obvious reason that the selectors could get badly embarrassed if he goes well," Chappell told ESPNcricinfo. "But if you do it that way it then gives the selectors the opportunity to play a couple of the younger players.

"You've got Hughes making some runs, Khawaja now starting to make some runs. They come in against Sri Lanka, and as a selector what you're trying to do is give young players the best possible chance to succeed, so I think that would be the ideal thing for Australian cricket - to finish it off in Perth."

Rob Quiney's exit from the squad for the third Test may mean a swift end to his fleeting moment on the international circuit. Arthur said Quiney remained a part of the selectors' wider plans, but significantly mentioned Hughes and Khawaja as the next men in line, based on the form they have displayed in domestic matches this season.

"Rob Quiney knocked the door down and got selected on the form he showed throughout our local domestic competition and that's the way we as a panel always want to go," Arthur said. "You've got to reward good domestic cricket form. I had a quick chat to Rob, he's been simply outstanding with everything he's done since he's arrived in our group.

"Obviously he didn't get the runs he wanted but for everything else he's been outstanding. The message to him is keep knocking the door down because you never know what's around the corner and if he keeps his name up in lights he'll certainly get another crack at some stage.

"At this stage Quiney is right up there and I guess you can't look past Phillip Hughes, and Usman Khawaja is making a really good case as well. We've got some young players who have a taste of international cricket and when called up, or when needed, ready to step into the breach."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (November 30, 2012, 15:49 GMT)

@Hammond: I wouldn't worry if I were you mate - Randy probably thinks it was actually Australia that kept winning by an Innings in the Ashes. All those innings defeats he's had to banish from memory, too much for one young mind to take :)

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (November 30, 2012, 15:47 GMT)

Ponting - A genuine scorer of runs in all the orthodox areas of field. A career stained, however, by ill-discipline on the field. He was unquestionably one of the most un-sportsmanlike cricketers that has ever played the game. That aside, he was lucky enough to lead the best team Australia ever had, with Mcgrath/Warne/Hayden, and hence he has many a fine victory to his name. His captaincy skills, however, were infamously bad, and in 2005 the world saw his ineptness in the field as he was out-captained spectacularly by Michael Vaughan, and every Ashes series since then has been marked by the English cricket team captain Out-captaining the Australian one. His hundreds on flat wickets against inept early-2000 English bowling will stay long in memory for Aussie fans, a time so long ago now that they were better than England. How the tables turned for Australia. And how they were turned for Ponting, by an England side that dominate over them every time they meet.

Posted by Hammond on (November 29, 2012, 0:12 GMT)

@RandyOz- yeah, Ponting, Englands destroyer, who holds the record for the most ashes series lost as an Australian captain. More like England's savior..

Posted by IndiaRulesEverybody on (November 28, 2012, 22:36 GMT)

I firmly believe that Pointing still has a lot of cricket left in him at the club level. Well, actually the Aussies are a club level team who failed to shut out a match which was for the taking. So no surprises that a club level player is eligible to play for a club.

Posted by RandyOZ on (November 28, 2012, 16:59 GMT)

Ponting, England's destroyer, will be up and about for the Ashes. Expect another headingly masterpiece from the best since bradman.

Posted by zenboomerang on (November 28, 2012, 12:04 GMT)

Looking at Pontings form from the last 3 years (nov 2009) his overall batting has been @38, yet take out the home & away India Tests it drops down to @28 - I think most would say that India's bowling attack was one of their weakest in many a year as the Eng & Oz results showed... Ponting hasn't done anything much against NZ, WI's, SL, Eng, SA in home or away series during this time, while his only other good score was against Pak (where he was dropped on zero & a sitter at that) on a flat Bellerive pitch... If there was a perfect time to retire it was last summer on a high note & thus giving some of the younger batters a chance to settle into the Test team in the WI's before this SA series, SL, India then back to back Ashes...

Posted by redneck on (November 28, 2012, 11:14 GMT)

pontings still got plenty of runs in him!!! and he is still one of the best fielders both throwing and catching going around. should not even be thinking of retiring before the sydney ashes test!!!

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (November 28, 2012, 9:47 GMT)

The way he got out in the 1st innings at Adelaide Oval was that of a man who is destined for the scrapheap. The aussies might be in denial, but they are always in denial.

Posted by anver777 on (November 28, 2012, 9:43 GMT)

Ponting deserves one final ashes fairwell for his services to Aus.... it will be a great honor if he achieves that before he quits !!!!!

Posted by ScottStevo on (November 28, 2012, 9:25 GMT)

Any Australian supporter asking for Ricky to retire needs to have their head examined, or should stick to watching golf or whatever else it is that they're actually into. He mightn't be turning his starts into tons, but he's made countless scores of around 45-70 in the last few years and hasn't ever looked like anything other than a world class bat, including our last tour of India where his record is poorest, he made 71, 72, 77 and 51* consecutively. Fair enough, it was an odd looking dismissal against Kallis the other day but I understand how it happened. He got beaten by that balls movement in the air (and I would predict a lot of very good batsmen also would by that one) and, as any good batsman would, tried to move his back leg around to get something on it to at least give the umpire a choice to make. Anyway, I'm really sick of these ageist witchhunts. It was both he and Hussey not so long ago - purely based on age. Wish we could be supportive of one of our finest batsmen ever..

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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