Ricky Ponting hopes his Ashes bid not quite up in smoke

Ricky Ponting isn't thinking about the Ashes right now, more concerned with his immediate future after three batting failures against South Africa.

Last updated on Sunday, 25 November, 2012 13:37 IST
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Adelaide: Ponting, who will turn 38 next month, has long targeted the 2013 tour to England as a chance to redeem himself for losing back-to-back Ashes series as Australia skipper. He stood down from the captaincy last year -- before he was pushed -- but has maintained he won't retire any time soon and is leaving it up to selectors to drop him if he's not good enough to earn his place as a specialist batsman.

"I haven't spoken to the selectors anything about my immediate future. And they haven't spoken to me about it, either," Ponting said in a television interview today with another ex-test captain, Mark Taylor.

"I'm sure that conversation is going to come, probably, and in the near future. But nothing has happened just yet."

Ponting has scored 13,382 runs in 168 tests, at an average above 52.2, but has been in patchy form with only 20 runs in three innings this series, including a duck in the series-opener at Brisbane last  week.

He said he'd have to score a lot of runs, and soon, to have any chance of going back  to England.

"I mean, I'm a realist. I live in the real  world and I know that if I'm not getting runs there's no chance at all ... I might not make the summer out, so I definitely won't be in England," he said.

"But, we'll wait and see what happens at the end of this game ... hopefully getting  a good win here and we'll see how we go for Perth."

Ponting's chances of getting another opportunity in the third test in Perth next week have been heightened only by the
failures of Rob Quiney, who was brought in to bat at No. 3 in the absence of Shane Watson but has only scored nine runs in three innings -- including a pair of ducks in Adelaide.

His experience is another factor in Perth, where the No. 1 world ranking could be on the line.

The nerves and constant speculation about his selection have had a toll on his first few innings against the top-ranked South Africans.

In Brisbane, he was caught at slip for a fifth-ball duck when Australia. In the first innings here, his only scoring shot was a boundary before he was out for 4 from three deliveries.

In the second innings, he chopped a short and wide ball from Dale Steyn onto his stumps and was out for 16.

"Probably if anything I've been a little bit tentative.

Certainly in the first innings in Brisbane it was a tentative shot. Yesterday afternoon it was a tentative shot. And  that's not the normal way that I play," he said.

"I probably just needed to be a bit more positive and get through that way. Yeah, disappointing game but, saying, that, I've just got to keep working and hopefully the runs will come."

Ponting has fended off the critics plenty of times before, fighting his way back into form in the test arena late in 2011 after being dropped from the limited-overs team, then starting 2012 with century in Sydney and a double century in Adelaide against India.

In his five tests since then, though, his only half century was a 57 in April against the West Indies at Roseau.

"I've got no illusions or disillusions about where I'm at or where my cricket is at," Ponting said.

"It's just a matter or working hard, and then hopefully when I do have a chance to bat in the middle I'm a bit more assertive than I have been in the last couple of games.

"And I said coming into the summer that it really is a game-by-game thing with me now. I can't afford to look any further forward."

Story first published on: Sunday, 25 November 2012 13:34 IST

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