Ponting needs a break, says Arthur


Ricky Ponting needs a rest but he cannot afford to leave the senior batsman out of the Australia team with regular skipper Michael Clarke injured, coach Mickey Arthur said Saturday. Ponting, 37, has played in all six of Australia’s Tests this season as well as four one-day internationals but he has yet to pass 10 in the tri ODI series.
Ponting failed again with just two runs in Friday’s thumping eight-wicket loss to Sri Lanka in Sydney. Arthur said in an ideal world Ponting would be taking a break rather than preparing to lead Australia against India in Sunday’s tri series match at Brisbane’s Gabba ground. “If I have to be totally honest, Ricky is a little bit jaded, like a couple of our Test players who have played all summer,” Arthur told reporters in Brisbane. “But that is the treadmill of international cricket and they have to find a way to make their performances count and have an impact on the team.” Ponting conceded after Friday’s loss that his own form was not satisfactory but said he had no intention of calling time on his 374 one-day international career.
Arthur said there was no doubt Ponting’s experience and knowledge were vital to Australia but that wouldn’t ensure a future at ODI level unless his performances start to improve. “Every cricketer’s currency is performance, that’s what gets you into the Australian team,” he said.
“A character like Ricky Ponting is someone you want around the team all the time because he’s so inspirational, he’s still our fittest player and hardest trainer and he trains with the most intensity, he’s a fantastic example to every guy who comes into this team.
“Ricky is a class act, there is no way you can write off a champion like Ricky Ponting. “He faced those same issues around the first couple of Test matches and he came through the Test series, had a great series against India and I hope he turns it around tomorrow.”
Ponting admits his form is unacceptable, but said he hadn’t considered avoiding the captaincy in Clarke’s absence even though that leadership role is set to extend a game further with Clarke ruled out of Sunday’s ODI. “This week is nothing different for me, just got a little bit of added responsibility that I’ve had 170 times before,” he said.
“It’s nothing new to me but being able to make the team bounce back strongly for Sunday is something that we’ve all got to take on board. “I’m going to have a leading role in that and I’m going to make sure I do everything I can to get the boys up on Sunday.” George Bailey joined the international squad in Brisbane on Saturday as cover in the absence of Clarke.
Spinner Jon Holland was also with the squad in a covering role following Xavier Doherty’s back spasms in the lead-up to Friday’s match.