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Ponting: Ideal time for Warner to retire was after 2022 MCG double hundred

Former Australia captain says next game which was at opener's home ground SCG would have been the time to go out on a high

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
05-Mar-2023
Ricky Ponting says David Warner may need to prove himself in the WTC final to be in Ashes contention  •  Getty Images

Ricky Ponting says David Warner may need to prove himself in the WTC final to be in Ashes contention  •  Getty Images

Ricky Ponting believes David Warner missed the ideal time to retire from Test cricket after his double-century against South Africa at the MCG and suggested the World Test Championship final might be a one-off chance for him to prove he should play the Ashes.
Warner left Australia's current tour of India after the second Test in Delhi where he was subbed out of the match with concussion and also picked up a hairline fracture in his elbow.
His double hundred in his 100th Test at the MCG came amid ongoing talk about his form and Ponting is of the view that the next game which was at the SCG would have been the time to go out on a high.
"Look, I was on radio a couple of days ago, back here in Australia, and I thought the absolute best time for Davey to retire, if he was thinking about it at all, was after the Sydney Test match here in Australia," Ponting told the ICC Review podcast.
"He'd just played his 100th Test in Melbourne, and obviously got 200 in the first innings down there. And to bow out in front of his home crowd is obviously the way that every player would like to finish their careers.
"Who knows now that opportunity might not come around again for Davey, you know. That's nearly another 12 months away."
Ponting expects Warner to feature in the WTC final at The Oval in June, which will be against either India or Sri Lanka, but sees it as a crucial outing to determine whether he features in the Ashes. Warner has an underwhelming record in England with an average of 26.04 from 13 Tests.
"I think they'll definitely want to play him in the World Test Championship match," he said. "They have got some really big decisions to make, leading into the Ashes as well. A bit like some of the selection issues they had coming to India.
"They're probably going to have similar things to think about when they get to the UK because David's record in the UK is not as strong as it is in some other places around the world."
However, Ponting added that Warner deserved to finish his Test career on his terms.
"I think his career deserves to finish the way he wants it to," he said. "Sort of not to be dropped or tapped on the shoulder in the middle of an overseas tour and have his career end in that way. That's why I just hope he can find it within himself to score a lot of runs between now and next summer."
Travis Head was promoted to open in Warner's place for the second innings in Delhi and continued the role in Indore with success. However, he is not viewed as a permanent successor given his influence in the middle order although may do the role again on the subcontinent.
"We'll see where that lands in terms of the future but I see him [Head] as an incredible middle order player as well," coach Andrew McDonald said. "He can shift the momentum of the game in the middle order and I don't think we want to take that away from this team. I think he can get on the back of others' work at the top of the order in different conditions."
Cameron Bancroft has enjoyed a prolific domestic season for Western Australia and will be in the frame for a spot in the WTC final and Ashes squads.Marcus Harris is another contender should an opening vacancy arrive.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo