He is one of the greatest players ever to wear the baggy green cap of Australia, yet Ricky Ponting may well be on his way out of international cricket.
By no means giving up on a future playing for his country, Ponting still has to accept that at 37 years of age, his days at the top of the game may very well be numbered. And when coach Micky Arthur stated that no one was “guaranteed a start” in the Boxing Day test against India, his future was cast into new doubt by those looking at moneyback betting offers.
On that basis, the out of form batsman would struggle to get into Australia’s new look side, with the next generation of talent chomping at the bit to get into a hugely competitive starting XI.
Of course, it would be impossible to overlook an in form Ponting. He has proven down the years to be one of the finest accumulators of runs that the game has ever seen – almost 13,000 runs from 158 test matches, at an average of 52.3 reflect that. A total of 39 test centuries, and 58 half centuries re-enforce it.
“Ricky Ponting is really vital to where we want to take this team,” the South African, Arthur admitted. “We are really hoping that he finds his form and hopefully that form is just around the corner.
“I’ve backed Ricky Ponting in, like I’ve backed Mike Hussey in for a period of time because I think they’re crucial to the development of the side. For our young batters, to bat with guys like that is fantastic, but, again, they need to keep giving us ammunition, they need to keep giving us performances.
“Nobody’s guaranteed a start, nobody’s got a privilege to play in the Australian cricket team. They’ve got to be producing the goods and giving us ammunition to play.”
Despite many calling for Ponting to be pensioned off and dropped from the Australia team, there is no reason why he cannot play on for a few more years at least. Look at Sachin Tendulkar for example – at 38, he is a year older than Ponting, and still has ambitions to play on. His form has hardly been electric lately, either. It seems like eternity since he moved on to 99 international centuries, and he will certainly be looking to reach the prodigious milestone.
That is not to suggest that Ponting should have his eyes on 100 hundreds, as such, he ‘only’ has 69 to his name so far – but who is to say that he has not got a few left in him yet? It is not unrealistic to think that a good run of form could get him close to the 15,000 test runs that the little Indian master has achieved.
To do that, however, he must be in the team for the next three years at least. That will mean he passes 40, but who’s to say that cannot happen yet. There are still plenty of races left in this old horses legs yet.