x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Ricky Ponting should play on for Australia

The batting legend has nothing left to prove but he can help mould a good Australia Test team for the future.

Ricky Ponting, seen here in action for Australia against the West Indies, must be retained in the side also because he can mentor the youngsters. Stan Honda / AFP
Ricky Ponting, seen here in action for Australia against the West Indies, must be retained in the side also because he can mentor the youngsters. Stan Honda / AFP

Ricky Ponting kept working in the nets even as his less illustrious colleagues reportedly chose to spend time away from the game on Saturday.

Ponting was preparing for the third and final Test against the West Indies, starting in Dominica today. And with a six-month lull before Australia's next Test, Ponting was making the most of this opportunity.

The question doing the rounds in Australia is whether Ponting would retire or be asked to quit before November comes. He is 37 years old and has not been scoring the runs he did over the previous 17 years. Cricket Australia might want to move on.

If Ponting decides to leave, that is fair enough. But if that call is for the administrators to make, then now is not the time. Michael Clarke's men are still inexperienced and while a promising lot, they have much to learn which they can if veterans such as Ponting stick around for at least another year.

Forget what he can teach when he is out in the middle. Take his work ethic. The man has scored 27,371 runs, 71 centuries and 145 half centuries in 556 internationals. He has been part of three World Cup-winning sides and two of them as captain. He has nothing to prove. Yet he chose to hit a few balls instead of heading to the beach.

Imran Khan was a great all-rounder. But he was an even greater mentor under whose guidance in the late 1980s and 1990s rose the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Aaqib Javed, who is now the UAE coach.

Australia can and must take a leaf out of Pakistan's success story.

ckadalayil@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE