Ponting's career on the line?
Cape Town – Former Cricket Australia selector, John Benaud says that former Australian cricket captain, Ricky Ponting should consider his future if his form does not improve soon.
Benaud, who was an Australian selector from 1988 - 1993, believes that Ponting should at least be granted the opportunity to prove himself again.
“The thing about Ricky is you hope like billy-o that he's not going to be pig-headed and say, 'I'm going to keep playing', and he's going to get dropped,'' Benaud told The Sydney Morning Herald’s website.
“If he is in terminal slide you don't want him playing against New Zealand in case he gets a couple of hundreds against someone who's a bit weak and then gets in against some class again and it's too much for him.”
Benaud went onto to say that Ponting should rather call it quits on his glittering career, which includes winning three CWC’s, rather than wait to be dropped by the national selection panel.
“Nobody wants a player of his talent and reputation to just get the chop. He's obviously got to play in this Test here but the new panel will be having a pretty close look, I would think.
“It would be sensible for Ricky to have a bit of a sit down and say to himself: 'Is this going to end in tears or do I really, really have the talent that I had five years ago? Maybe two years ago?
“I think the signs have been there a little while that he's been struggling a bit.” Benaud said.
Ponting is currently experiencing one of his worst slumps to date. He has averaged above 40 in just one of his past six Test series. He has not scored a century in his last 26 attempts in the Test arena.
“His form doesn't appear to be holding out much in the way of good news in the future,” Benaud said.
“Ricky just looks all at sea, that might be a bit harsh but he's not the player he was, as you would expect. I just think he runs the risk of it all ending in tears if he's not careful.”
Benaud criticised the prevalence of Twenty20 cricket for the recent dip in performances at Test level, saying that the characteristics required to play Test cricket cannot be taught in the limited overs form of the game. He maintained that although there is young talent coming through the Australian ranks, the future may not be all that rosy.
“We're talking a good game at the moment but to me there doesn't seem to be much substance attached to it,” Benaud said.
“To me, the cricketers just don't have that tough David Boon, Geoff Marsh, Mark Taylor-type grit about them. It seems to me around Australia at the moment we've got a bunch of very average first-class cricketers as far as the longer form of the game goes.”