Ponting not ready to walk into the sunset

Ponting not ready to walk into the sunset

Canberra has been added to what could be the Ricky Ponting farewell tour, as the former Australian captain comes under increasing pressure in his spot in the Test team.

Ponting will join a distinguished list of former skippers to lead the Prime Minister's XI in the historic first-ever day-nighter at Manuka Oval in January.

Ricky Ponting is under pressure to retain his spot in the Australian Test side.

Ricky Ponting is under pressure to retain his spot in the Australian Test side.

Photo: Getty Images

The 37-year-old will be in charge of the invitational outfit when it takes on the West Indies in the annual 50-over encounter on January 29.

Ponting is regarded as one of Australia's most successful Test batsmen, having scored 41 centuries and more than 13,000 runs at an average of more than 52.

But he has come under intense scrutiny after scoring just 20 runs in three innings in the current Test series against South Africa.


In Canberra to cast his eye over several players involved in the Sheffield Shield match between NSW and Queensland, national selector Andy Bichel had faith Ponting's recent run of outs was an aberration and not a sign of a more serious decline.

''If you have got all six players scoring runs that's good, but you don't have that luxury all the time,'' Bichel said.

''He's been up against some quality bowling that's tested him.

''But going into the Perth Test there's no worries from where I sit as far as Ricky playing.

''If he's not playing at his top then he's a good enough man to work that out.

''When that time comes I suppose it'll happen, but at this stage he's there to play the next Test.''

Australia takes on Sri Lanka once the South African series is complete, with the first game of the three-match series at Ponting's home ground, Bellrive Oval in Hobart.

That could be the perfect spot for Ponting to bow out, except he is keen to play on to help Australia regain the Ashes in England next year.

Ponting is the latest in a long line of former Australian captains to receive the honour of skippering the Prime Minister's XI.

Others have included Australia's most celebrated cricketer, Sir Don Bradman, Allan Border, Kim Hughes, Richie Benaud, Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh.

''It's a great opportunity for the Canberra public to get out and see him,'' Bichel said. ''He's a legend of the game.''

Cricket ACT chairman Ian McNamee was over the moon to have Ponting lead the Prime Minister's XI.


''He's the greatest run scorer for Australia, he's played more matches than anyone else, he's taken more catches … he's just an icon of Australian cricket.''

The rest of the Prime Minister's XI will be announced in January.

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