Melbourne:Australia captain Ricky Ponting on Tuesday voiced his support for controversial all-rounder Andrew Symonds' return to the Test side for the Ashes series.
Symonds has battled controversies both on and off the field and despite not being among the best of shape, was allowed to play for the country in the one-day series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi and Dubai recently.
However, the all-rounder seems to be finding his rhythm in the Indian Premier League where he has so far scored 174 runs in five matches for the Deccan Chargers, leading his coach Darren Lehman demanding his inclusion in the Ashes series.
Ponting too backed Lehmann's views and felt it would be a tough job for selectors to keep out the 33-year-old all-rounder when they meet on Wednesday to pick the 16-member squad for the Ashes.
Ponting said he would not be surprised if Symonds gets the nod.
"I wouldn't be surprised, he has had his share of battles over the last 12 months, obviously the well documented stuff off the field," Ponting was quoted as saying by 'Australian Associated Press'.
"He's worked his way back into domestic cricket pretty well and played well for us over in Abu Dhabi, Dubai.
"He's a great guy to have around a team, there is no doubt about that and obviously the selectors are going to have some tough decisions to make in the coming hours I guess," said Ponting, who announced his 'Run Ricky Run' initiative.
The skipper urged fans to donate money as part of the 'Run Ricky Run' programme for every run scored by him in the Ashes.
Proceeds from the project will go to the Ponting Foundation which helps generate funds for charities fighting cancer among children.