Ricky Ponting who is the most successful Australian Captain of all time with 48 wins in 77 tests between 2004 and 2010 as Captain and as a player, he is the first ever to be involved in 100 Test victories. He has a number of records to his credit from being the only man to score hundreds in both innings of his hundredth test match to being the second batsmen ever to score 12,000 runs. But as we have seen time and again, such statistics have never saved even a classy cricketer who has had a continuous bad phase for over a year.
Ponting turns 37 next month and his position in the side is in jeopardy due to the number of youngsters coming into the side. The selection panel is currently headed by John Inverarity who recently stated that, “Ricky Ponting is a magnificent cricketer and a fine man, a very resilient man. All selectors are always looking for a change of blood and to bring young players in, you have to balance that with picking your best side”. Though he has not conclusively stated that Ponting’s time is up, it does seem very much on the cards.
Ponting is the third highest run getter in Tests but currently he is having a miserable form with the bat. In the ongoing Test series against South Africa, he made 8 and 0 in the first Test in Cape Town and succumbed to a third-ball duck in the first innings of the ongoing Test in Johannesburg. It is surprising to see that his last half century came a year ago and his last century was almost two years back.
A number of cricketers are calling for his back as his game has developed flaws, the reason for which cannot be reconciled. Australian great Ian Healy said,” There are faults that have never been in his technique before and I don’t like his statistics from the past 12 months. No one who has played for as long as he has should be averaging in the teens. I think it’s a pretty easy decision. He’s been on the wane for some time now and without something special, it’s time for Ricky to say, ‘I’m finishing’”.
Another Aussie great Doug Walters has joined Ian Healy in calling for Ponting’s retirement. “I’m a huge fan of Ricky as a batsman, but he’s getting towards the end and perhaps we can get more out of him if he moves down a notch (in the batting line-up),” Walters was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph. The Australian media too has viciously come down on him stating that the legend should be honest to himself. This comes in light of the Aussies not doing very well over the past 2 years.
Ponting has found allies in Ian Border and Englishman Tony Greig who feel that the Tasmanian has more cricket to offer in him. He said, “I suspect Ponting will go into the new summer in Australia regardless of what happens in this Test. If it keeps going wrong they have to look at somebody else, but is there someone who has made four (first-class) hundreds in a row and deserves to step into that position?”
With the current injury woes of the Australian batsmen, Ponting might just get an extended run despite him nearing his end. Whatever said n done, Ricky Ponting has always been one of the best batsman to have ever played the game and his legacy will always remain for years to come.