Ponting voices opposition to day-night Tests
Ricky Ponting has spoken out strongly against the looming day-night Test match to be played in Adelaide between Australia and New Zealand, reckoning that the experimental format and pink ball will have to stand up to the scrutiny of the players involved if it is ever to have the credibility of the existing five-day game.
On the night he was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in Melbourne, Ponting said the Cricket Australia-driven concept was something he had always opposed. This was largely due to his belief that Test match cricket should be kept as the purest possible contest between bat and ball, while the game's two other formats served as greater vehicles for entertainment and night-time events.
"I've actually been against it the whole time," Ponting said. "I mean I understand the reasons behind wanting to innovate and wanting to be different, but at the same time I think Test cricket is all about history and tradition as far as I'm concerned.
"But I guess the game has to go on and move forward. It will be interesting to see what the players make of it all and how much they enjoy the occasion. That's what it comes down to at the end of the day, the players have to want to enjoy it and have to want to be a part of it and want to make it something extra special and let's hope it works out that way."
Earlier this week, Ponting gave evidence via video link in the perjury trial of Chris Cairns. While unwilling to comment any further on the trial, he said Australia had been a leader in educating players about the murky world of spot-fixing and that he was eager to ensure the game continued to be closely monitored for any evidence of impropriety.
"The way the game is it maybe does open itself up to more of that kind of thing because there is so much spot betting and so many things that you can bet on," Ponting said. "Don't worry, everyone is doing their absolute utmost to keep on top of that stuff, but as we know at the end of the day it's the players, it comes down to the players.
"I know that everything that's been done within Cricket Australia has been absolutely first class, we'd be leading the world in so far as that sort of education is concerned so all we can do is make sure that we keep doing the right thing and make sure we keep our players out of it all."
As for the summer ahead, Ponting predicted that the captain Steven Smith would drop down to No. 4 in the batting order, with Usman Khawaja at No. 3 and the young West Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft slotting in alongside David Warner at the top of the order.
He spoke with some pride at his induction into the hall of fame, which also features the likes of fellow Tasmanian David Boon, Richie Benaud and Dennis Lillee. "Something like this once you are retired it gives you a chance to sit back and think about all the things you were able to do and wins you were able to have and things like that," he said.
"Even just coming here and sitting at the stands now and thinking about some of the great things that happened out there is nice. And I've done a little, I wouldn't say research, but I've read up on the Sports Australia Hall of Fame and the history behind it and it's a pretty select group of people or members that I've been inducted into."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig