x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Australia selectors cast shadow over former captain Ricky Ponting's career

Struggling for form, the 37 year old is dropped hours after he denied intentions of stepping aside.

Ricky Ponting is second in all-time runscorers in the ODIs behind Sachin Tendulkar.
Ricky Ponting is second in all-time runscorers in the ODIs behind Sachin Tendulkar.

SYDNEY // World Cup winner Ricky Ponting's one-day international career appeared over after he was dropped from Australia's team after a dismal run of form, and the chief selector hinting that he was considering his future in the game.

John Inverarity announced the axing of Ponting, the second all-time leading runscorer in ODIs, after he scored just 18 runs in five Tri-series knocks against India and Sri Lanka at an average of 3.60.

"Ricky Ponting has been dropped from the (ODI) squad due to his lack of form in the five tri-series matches to date," Inverarity said, only hours after Ponting declared he would not offer to take a rest because he wanted to play his way back into form.

But the selectors took the decision out of his hands. Briefing reporters in Perth, Inverarity also said there were no guarantees Ponting would continue playing Test cricket,

"Ricky is going to consider his future over the next couple of days and he'll talk it over with his family and with his manager, and my guess is he'll be giving a press conference in the next two or three days," he said.

It was later announced that Ponting will address the media tomorrow (Tuesday) at 4am UAE time.

"The team will not seem the same without him, but moving on from the omission of players who have been outstanding over a long period of time is the nature of elite sport," he said.

"He made a double century in his last Test match and we are hoping that he remains available for Test match cricket, but there can be no guarantees in elite sport and in the Australian cricket team."

Inverarity added: "If he drops out of the ODI team then there's a possible lack of momentum there.

"There are three Test matches in the West Indies (in April), then as I understand it there are no more Test matches until October or November."

The selectors announced a 13-man squad with all-rounder Shane Watson returning for Australia's next two games in the Tri-series.

Ponting's sacking came a day after he led Australia to a crushing 110-run win over India in Brisbane as stand-in for injured skipper Michael Clarke. But while the other batsmen made merry, he scored just seven runs from 26 balls.

"It's fair to say I've struggled in the first five games," Ponting said.

"I'm not going to put my hand up and say I want a break, because when you are going through a lean trot like I've had the last couple of games, you want to turn that around."

Ponting ranks second only to India's Sachin Tendulkar with most ODI runs (13,704) from 375 matches, while he has scored 13,200 runs in 162 Tests.

Inverarity said that Ponting's contribution to the Australia ODI team went far beyond his batting statistics and brilliant fielding.

"The example he sets in every respect and his extraordinarily positive influence in the dressing-room is acknowledged by all," he said, while hailing Ponting's "selfless" willingness to stand in for Clarke recently.

Ponting's sacking comes less than a month after his dominant role in Australia's 4-0 clean sweep of the home Test series against India.

He was second for most series runs only to Clarke, scoring 544 at 108.80 with two centuries and three 50s.