x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Ponting fired up for New Zealand Test

"Someone's going to pay at some stage," says Australia batsman.

Australia's Ricky Ponting scored 62 against South Africa.
Australia's Ricky Ponting scored 62 against South Africa.

Ricky Ponting has fired a warning shot to New Zealand ahead of Thursday's first Test in Brisbane, insisting that a big score is just around the corner.

The 36-year-old showed glimpses that his best is not far away in a gritty 62 that helped Australia chase down 310 in the second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg last week.

Although that was his first half-century in 14 Test match innings, Ponting – who has scored 12,557 Test runs – is positive that his hard work will pay off sooner rather than later.

"Someone's going to pay at some stage," Ponting told reporters in Sydney today.

"I'm working too hard for someone not to pay. That's the way I'm looking at it. I honestly believe in my own heart that I have still got what it takes to be one of the best players in world cricket.

"I'm searching high and low to find the answers to get me back to where I want to be. I saw glimpses of some really positive stuff through the South African tour. Obviously to get some runs in the last innings of the last Test was satisfying as well knowing how hard I had worked."

Ponting denied suggestions he would need to be tapped on the shoulder when it was time to retire with the Tasmanian adamant that he still had the drive and desire to play at the highest level for his country.

"I totally understand why I'm being asked the questions I'm being asked but, at the same token, I believe I'm good enough to be in the team and that I'm good enough to win games for Australia," he said.

"If I keep doing the work that I'm doing and not getting the results, then maybe it's time but, at the moment, I don't feel that time is here just yet. I feel there's enough there to want to keep working hard.

"Having spoken to a lot of the other guys that have retired in the last few years, I was captain when [Justin] Langer, [Adam] Gilchrist, [Shane] Warne and all those guys stood down, so I know the things that were going through their minds.

"What they said about it was they just didn't have the drive or desire to work as hard as they needed to work to get their games back on track again. With me, there's no doubting that at all."

With Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and teenage sensation Pat Cummins all ruled out of the Gabba Test, talk on Ponting's future has cooled, with the focus turning to just who will be called up for the opening Test of the Australian summer.

Ponting offered a glowing endorsement of Victorian quick James Pattinson and New South Welshman David Warner, with the pair likely to be two of a possible three Test debutants in Brisbane.

"James is a terrific young bloke and a very good bowler. His record for Victoria is getting better and better. He is one that has been around our group for a while. [He was] probably a little bit unlucky not to be in the Test squad on our last trip to South Africa, but he made room for Patty [Cummins] and we know what Patty has done over the last couple of weeks.

"He [Warner] is the sort of guy who is going to be able to step up to the next level.

"His last [Sheffield] Shield games ... he's scored a lot of runs and whenever he has played for Australia in Twenty20s or one-dayers he has generally done a pretty good job. He's been in pretty rare form of late as well. So we are all excited to see him play."