Perth, Dec. 17: Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting has failed to score again in the ongoing third Ashes Test against England, coming up with scores of 12 and 1, and for the first time in his career, he appears genuinely heartbroken.
On Thursday, according to the Daily Telegraph, his shoulders slumped and his head dropped as he slowly left the arena. It appears as if nothing is going to plan, and he is hurting. Though, he will keep on fighting, display the swagger, the spitting in the hands and the pride, the body language seems to have temporarily gone down south.
Could this be his last Test in charge? Should someone else be given the reins? Ponting'[s approach to speculation about his leadership has already done a U-turn. Previously, he passionately claimed he was the right man for the job. Now, he has introduced the line that it is out of his hands and the selectors will make up their own minds, possibly as soon as the end of this Test.
An air of resignation has crept in. Steve Waugh knows exactly what the besieged Australian skipper is going through.Waugh made one century in 17 months before his epic last-ball-of-the-day ton against England at the SCG in 2003 rescued his career. Ponting is in an eerily similar situation - only one ton in 17 months.
Waugh knows better than anyone about life under the harsh spotlight now on Ponting. "Players read the papers, no matter what they say," Waugh said yesterday.
He added: "Family and friends are talking about it and it is hard to keep upbeat and have strong body language. You're feeling under siege and under pressure and, really, the only way you can solve it is out in the middle. You have to score runs and play well and there's no reason why Ricky won't do that."
Should Ponting go down the order? "I don''t think it''s realistic to change positions at 35 or 36 after playing more than 150 Tests," Waugh said.