What to do: Ricky Ponting. Photo: Getty Images
WEST Indies master blaster Viv Richards says Ricky Ponting deserves to control the timing of his exit from Test cricket.
Ponting sparked a fresh bout of speculation over his playing future after being dismissed for a duck in Australia's first innings of the first Test against South Africa.
Richards says champion players such as Ponting are special cases. ''You should give him the benefit of the doubt, for him to bow out when he likes, because I think he deserves that,'' Richards said on Monday.
''When you have guys who have done so well, it's important you enjoy them for a long time and when they go, appreciate that also.''
Former Australia skipper Ponting is Test cricket's second-leading runscorer.
But he followed his modest tour of the West Indies in April (146 runs at 24.33) with a first-up failure to begin the home summer.
Richards' career ended in 1991 at the age of 39, scoring 376 runs at an average of 53.71 in his farewell series in England.
The powerful hitter and five-star entertainer finished with an overall average of 50.23 including 24 hundreds.
The Shane Warne-led Big Bash League team Melbourne Stars are holding talks with the 60-year-old Richards about a possible mentoring role with the squad this summer.