Sydney, Dec 18: Australian skipper Ricky Ponting should take inspiration from Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar in order to resurrect his fading batting form, a noted cricket columnist has said.
Ponting, who has posted scores of 10, 51, 0 and nine for an average of 23.3 in the first two Tests, managed only 12 runs in Australia's first innings on day one of the Perth Test on Thursday. His average has been around 40 in the last two years, as opposed to a career record comfortably above 50, a decline the Australian team can ill-afford.
Writing in News.com.au, Robert Craddock said, "Life beyond 36 is mostly treacherous territory for batsmen. But a look through the record books provides inspiration. It can be a happy life, but you have to be good because most batsmen are gone by this age."
"The most tangible inspiration for Ponting is Sachin Tendulkar, the great Indian who has averaged 79 after turning 36, an extraordinary feat because a few years before that he looked a fading force and exhausted by the game," he said. "Tendulkar's way of coping with advancing years was to prune some of the extravagance from his game, go back to basics and take his time. Once the runs started to flow he morphed into his old self."
Ponting's captaincy has also come under increasing pressure in recent times, with four losses and a draw from the past five Tests only fuelling talk he could be dumped from the top job before he has a chance to walk away.
The 36-year-old would become the first Australia captain in 120 years to lose the urn three times if England retain the Ashes.