The Investec Ashes 2013 June 12, 2013

Inverarity rules out Ponting Ashes comeback

ESPNcricinfo staff

Australia would not turn to retired batsmen such as Ricky Ponting or Simon Katich even if captain Michael Clarke's back problem continues to plague him during this year's Investec Ashes, according to national selector John Inverarity. Clarke has been out of action since arriving in England and could miss the whole of the Champions Trophy, while his readiness for the Ashes is also looming as a potential concern.

Meanwhile, Ponting has made a strong start to his county stint with Surrey, scoring 192, 52 and 38 not out in his three first-class innings so far. Before his first match, Ponting said in an interview that if the Australians came calling during the Ashes he would consider coming out of retirement, although the next day he backtracked and said there was no possibility of him being part of the Ashes campaign.

Katich has also enjoyed a solid start to the county season and although he is yet to make a century for Lancashire, he has posted three 80-plus scores and has 406 runs at 50.75. Katich played his last Test during the previous Ashes series, in Adelaide in December 2010, and departed from international cricket on sour terms with the selection panel, then headed by Andrew Hilditch, after he was dumped from the contract list in 2011.

"I think they've both retired from international cricket," Inverarity told AAP when asked about the possibility of Ponting or Katich featuring in the Ashes. "... The answer is no."

Australia's selectors have already put together a list of standby players should injuries arise during the Ashes and it is likely to include Steven Smith, who performed well in India in March and is vice-captain of the Australia A squad currently touring the British Isles. George Bailey, the stand-in Champions Trophy captain in Clarke's absence, could be another option, although his Sheffield Shield form last summer was disappointing.

However, the main focus for the Australian camp in the lead-up to the Ashes is not on potential back-up batsmen, but on ensuring Clarke is fit for action for the first Test starting on July 10. Clarke has battled the back problem since he was a teenager and while he has only missed one Test due to the injury, the concern for Australia is that it was their last Test, in Delhi.

"I'm confident he'll be right for the Ashes," Inverarity said. "I'm confident but one never knows. Nobody works harder than Michael. His preparation is extraordinary."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dam on June 15, 2013, 23:00 GMT

    Wouldn't want to put the best team on the field would you Inverarity, time for you to go and time to pick the best team. Need to get some experience back in the team!!!

    Best team to win the ashes back doubt IMO

    1. Rogers - How he hasn't been in the side for the past 4 years is beyond me. 2. Watson 3. Katich 4. Warner/Hughes or even Sam Robson 5. Clarke 6. Ponting - Why did he never get to go down the order like all other aging bats? 7. Haddin 8. Faulkner - Need his passion 9. Siddle/Bird/Harris - who ever performs better in lead up games 10.Pattinson 11.Fawad - Just put him in, he cant possibly be worse the Lyon.

    Hussey in at 4 if he wants to play.

  • Jabulani on June 14, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    It would be nice for Aus to have katich. But I dont think he will come back. I think the recent problems with Aus players (homework saga, warner, etc) have to do with the current leadership. I dont think Mickey Arthur and Michael Clark are the right peole to lead but then who else? The selection is also a bit puzzling. Whay was David Hussey dropped from the ODI team?

  • Dummy4 on June 14, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    1. Katich 2. Rogers 3. Ponting 4. Clarke 5. Hussey 6. Watson 7. Haddin 8. Siddle 9. Pattinson 10. Bird 11. O'Keefe

  • Dummy4 on June 13, 2013, 19:16 GMT

    Why do we need to be so desperate to have Ponting back? This gives a very negative message even before the Ashes starts and only the opposition would benefit from this. Can not imaging Brad Haddin vice captaining Australia considering his recent form. Where's Tim Paine?

  • rob on June 13, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    It would be a mistake to recall the retiree's. Going back is not the way forward. .. We're stuck with this lot for better or worse. .. Anyway, I'm feeling a bit more positive than most about our chances in the Ashes. I reckon this could be a break out tour for one or two batsmen who will put together enough runs to give us a fighting chance. Here's an example of what I mean. .. Phil Hughes will finally get the hang of working the ball round the corner on the leg side. He will be able to rotate the strike more fluently and won't feel compelled to CUT everything that comes his way. He's a compulsive cutter because sometimes it's the only way he can get off strike. I've seen him get tied up by a RH bowler pitching outside leg and ending up about middle-off. Most left handers would lap that up as a single at least. Not Phil, he was struggling to even hit them! Well, that won't be a problem this time because Phil's gunna fix it. I'm sure of it !!

  • Dummy4 on June 13, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    inverarity should resign from his post. he is now considered as one of the worse coach australia have. australia is no more threat to the world cricket. whats going on ?

  • Ray on June 13, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    Did the system produce great players such as Warne, McGrath, Gilchrist, etc. or were they simply hughly talented, highly motivated, dedicated cricketers who just happened to be around at the same time? If the former then the system is broke and some bright spark needs to fix it. If the latter, Australian cricket fans will just have to get use to suffering for a few years: As an England supporter who clearly remembes the '90s, I can offer counselling.

    In my next post, I will be addressing another great philosophical issue (raised by Little Jackie): "What came first? The Chicken Nugget or the Egg McMuffin?"

  • Robert on June 13, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    Inverarity should just have answered they have retired but anything is possible. No need to say 'the answer is no' like he is some sort of overlord of Australian cricket. I would love to see Ponting get some back to back to back massive scores and then make intention that he wants to return to test cricket. I know Inverarity would stick to his guns and say no. With Australian public outcry perhaps he might be given the boot which is what we really need.

  • Chris on June 13, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    Shaggy076 - I'm so glad you asked. Here are the stats you requested. Siddle's average vs England is 32.7 (30.8 away, 34.6 home). "Hilfy's" is 43.4 (27.45 away, 59.3). That is an absolute failure from both of these bowlers against England and one of the major reasons we lost both ashes series. Also, you may need to read again that I said the word 'overall' record against England. I was not referring to their in-England records. The point I made is that they've both had a fair go and both times the result was not in Australia's favour. On the positive side, I'm excited to see what Bird, Pattinson, Harris and Faulkner can do in England and with an improved Siddle and a Starc long overdue for a good match, there is a lot of hope on the bowling front. The only mistake the selectors made with the bowling was not sending O'Keefe over, but all shall be revealed soon enough!

  • Rajaram on June 13, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    I see no reason for ego to come in the way of asking Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Simon Katich to join the Aussie Squad.We've got to win The Ashes.