Brisbane, Dec 3: Ricky Ponting is slowly getting back to the groove. Two tests ago, Punter's name was the talk of the town as critics wanted him to hang his boots after a series of failures. The only saving grace was his half century in the second test against South Africa at Johannesburg which helped the visitors win by 2 wickets.
While the entire cricketing fraternity thought about Ricky Ponting's cricketing career had come to an end, the talented batsman has proved yet again that he has a lot to offer as he scored a valuable half century helping the hosts to register a 132 run lead in the first innings against New Zealand at Brisbane on Friday.
After posting their fourth lowest total in Test cricket, Aussies headed to Johannesburg, with a lot of prove as the seniors' were on the verge of being sacked. Ricky Ponting, had not scored a century in 25 outings, averaging below 30.
The 36 year old, was battling time and poor form as he had not scored a Test fifty for 21 innings, as calls for his exit from the Australia side had increased after his poor show at Newslands.
The new selection panel included Ponting in the squad for the current Test series against New Zealand, due to unavailability of top players like Watson and Shaun Marsh. It was indeed Marsh who replaced him at the No 3 spot after 113 Tests.
Ponting, quite predictably was under pressure while he scored 78 against Kiwis at Gabba. It wasn't a fluent innings, he survived a chance when he was on a nought, and also lived through three more close calls during his knock of 78.
His recent knock was very important as it decides his future as his survival depends on performance. In fact, this is not the right way to treat, a person of Ponting's stature, who has scored 57 half centuries and 39 hundreds at an average of 52.53 in his cricketing career spanning 16 years.
All cricketers come across a bad phase during the course of their careers, Ponting is no different. It depends on how the cricketers lift themselves from this situation and get motivated is left to the individuals. Though it took more than a year for Ponting to get back to the groove, the next few test matches would definitely be a challenge for the Punter as he has to continue the good run in future.
This is not the first time, Australian cricketers have been pushed to this phase. Veterans like Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh, Michael Slater all have faced a similar situation and after one successful knock, they have extended their cricketing career by a year. Now, with this recent knock, Ponting seems to have held on to the No 4 position tight as Aussies play 4 Test match series against India later this month.
It looks like the talented batsman has preserved the best for the series against India though his record against India is poor by his high standard. In 11 Tests against India at home, though, Ponting has tallied 1349 runs at 79.35, with five centuries including back-to-back doubles in 2003. Who can ever forget his 141 at Sydney in 1999, 242 at Adelaide or 257 in Melbourne?
Ponting, one of the leading batsmen of his era, and of all time has never bogged down, time and again proved his worth by playing a valuable innings. This knock shows that he has still a lot of cricket left in him and he deserves to be in the team.
Though his recent knocks are a positive sign, its not a positive one for India as they are touring Australia later this month. With Ponting back amongst runs, Clarke scoring centuries one after the other, Indians could face a tough competition though the Aussie team wears a new look.