Ricky Ponting's chances of earning another crack at Ashes redemption remain alive after Australian coach Mickey Arthur backed the 37-year-old to continue on until at least next year's Test tour of England.
Ponting struggled in Australia's recent 2-0 Test series win in the West Indies, posting just 146 runs at an average of 24.33.
The 165-Test veteran's dip in form isn't his only worry, with Ponting facing more than six months out of the international spotlight following his earlier axing from Australia's one-day squad.
Ponting won't feature for Australia again until summer's home Test series against South Africa, which starts in November.
But with two Test series against England looming over the next 20 months, Ponting isn't lacking for motivation.
The Tasmanian holds the unenviable tag of being only the second Australian skipper to preside over three Ashes defeats.
Although he has since been replaced by Michael Clarke as captain, Ponting is desperate to help Australia regain the urn in England next year.
And more importantly, Arthur wants him there as well, with the coach claiming no plans had been made for when Ponting should retire.
"I know there was a lot of media pressure and talk around Ricky but Ricky's not going anywhere," Arthur said on Tuesday.
"We hope Ricky's scoring enough runs to go to the Ashes in England.
"Ricky is definitely no way considering retiring ... and he'll be fit and ready to go against South Africa.
"I think if we win the Ashes, then maybe he'll go out on the top of his game.
"Look, I don't know.
"But Ricky's still got a lot of Test runs in him - there's no doubt about that."
Arthur said he wasn't concerned about Ponting's light schedule over coming months.
"Ricky's a consummate professional. He'll be prepared - he'll be ready," Arthur said.
"He trains exceptionally hard (and) works on his game all the time.
"We don't have to worry about Ricky Ponting."
Arthur, who has presided over seven wins in nine Tests since taking over as coach late last year, said he was happy with the team's settled batting line-up.
But pace bowling spots remain up for grabs as young stars Patrick Cummins and James Pattinson aim to bounce back to full fitness following lengthy stints on the sidelines.
And with Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Starc and Ryan Harris impressing at different times over the past six months, Arthur said he had the luxury of resting bowlers when needed.
Arthur confirmed George Bailey would remain skipper of the Twenty20 side, and said the batsman had done enough in the 50-over format to be selected for the June-July tour of England.