Pace won't 'worry' Ponting
Sydney - The 37-year-old reflexes of Ricky Ponting will need to cope with variety more than outright pace in the test series against South Africa, says former Proteas all-rounder Johan Botha.
According to stuff.co.nz website
, Botha, as captain of South Australia, will come up against Ponting in the Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania starting on Thursday and is convinced the former test skipper is as good against sheer speed as ever.
But he says the fearsome trio of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander will offer more than a workout for the speed gun in the much-anticipated series beginning at the Gabba on Friday week.
"He's always played pace bowling really well," Botha told AAP.
"The three (South African) quicks are all different. That's a challenge within itself.
"Steyn swings it at good pace, Morkel gets a lot of bounce and Philander's got a lot of skill - he moves the ball around both ways.
"I think that's the biggest challenge for him - not so much out-and-out pace."
Ponting's start to 2012/13, his first season as a test-only international player, has made plenty sit up and take notice.
He is the Sheffield Shield's top scorer with 350 runs from three matches at an average of 175.
That kind of preparation can only have the Proteas wary after Ponting's major role in knocking India from their perch last summer, including a double century in Adelaide.
It will be welcome in the Australian camp after Ponting passed 50 just once in six innings in the West Indies.
"The way he's playing now, you can't count him out and you can't look past him," Botha said.
"He's obviously putting in big runs and that's great to see.
"It's great to see the hunger that he's got at his age with everything he's done in his career."
Ponting will turn 38 in December and Tasmanian coach Tim Coyle said the end of his career was not yet in sight.
"As long as he's scoring runs," Coyle said.
"That's the bottom line - that's what he'll say: 'As long as I'm scoring runs, pick me'.
"He's invested a huge amount of time over the last two months to get himself to where he is now which is a great thing for Australian cricket.
"(His form is) no surprise to me.
"He's actually getting younger I reckon - that's the way I look at him. He seems to be going back the other other way."