Brisbane: Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain, has been dropped from the ODI squad for the remainder of the triangular series following the worst batting slump of his limited-overs career.
Scores of 2, 1, 6, 2 and 7 have drawn the curtain on Ponting's time as an ODI batsman, despite the fact that he served as stand-in captain for the injured Michael Clarke in the last two of those matches. John Inverarity, the national selector, said Ponting would be missed, but the time had come to move on in the 50-over format.
"The team will not seem the same without him, but moving on from the omission of players who have been outstanding over a long period of time is the nature of elite sport," Inverarity said. "Ricky's record speaks for itself. He is one of the truly great performers in the history of Australian ODI cricket, with his reputation enhanced further by him captaining Australia to two World Cup victories.
"Ricky's contribution goes far beyond his batting statistics and his brilliant fielding. The example he sets in every respect and his extraordinarily positive influence in the dressing-room is acknowledged by all. He is held in the highest possible regard by his team-mates and there is no higher accolade than this. Ricky being prepared to take over the captaincy in Michael Clarke's recent absence for the sake of the team is yet another example of his selfless attitude and team-first focus."
Ponting has been replaced in the squad by the allrounder and vice-captain Shane Watson, who proved his fitness after a stubborn calf injury by playing for New South Wales in a Sheffield Shield match against Western Australia in Perth. Inverarity announced one other change to the squad, recalling Ryan Harris in place of Mitchell Starc. He also confirmed that Matthew Wade had now usurped Brad Haddin as the No. 1 wicketkeeper in limited-overs matches, and that the panel intened to take both glovemen to the West Indies.
"Ryan Harris has been re-included in the squad with Mitchell Starc making way for his return. Mitchell will benefit greatly from the Tests and the ODIs he has played," Inverarity said. "His development as a player of the future is most encouraging. Shane Watson also comes back into the squad. He is an all-rounder of proven class and the NSP is keen to have him re-join the squad.
"The NSP made the decision that Matthew Wade is now the preferred ODI wicket-keeper for the Australian ODI team. The intention at this stage is to have both Matthew and Brad Haddin in the West Indies together for the duration of the tour."
Australia team for the next 2 ODIs: Michael Clarke (Capt), Shane Watson (vice-capt), Dan Christian, Xavier Doherty, Peter Forrest, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Brett Lee, Clint McKay, Matthew Wade, David Warner.