Melbourne, March 25 (IANS) With reigning champions Australia making a premature exit from the Cricket World Cup after their comprehensive defeat to hosts India, the debate is raging in the media here about the future of Ricky ‘Punter’ Ponting.
While the skipper may have silenced critics of his cricketing abilities for the time being, the question mark over his captaincy still lingers. Apparently, the fact that the world title has slipped out of Australian hands after 12 years is not going down too well with Australian media commentators.
“Even if Ponting bats on at Test level – and that is very much open to debate – his 50-over career should be over,” Robert Craddock said in a scathing write up in Herald Sun.
“If Ponting is chosen to lead the 50-over tour to Bangladesh next month then Australia’s selectors have picked the wrong team,” Craddock wrote.
“Ricky Ponting’s century against India may have saved his Test future because it showed that if he is prepared to defer to the ageing process and shed some of the extravagance of his pomp he can still be a force at the highest level,” Craddock further said.
Jon Anderson, another cricket writer from the News Corporation stable, is not very impressed with the Australian skipper’s Thursday effort.
“Ricky Ponting’s career-saving century has done nothing but make what are already cloudy waters in Australian cricket even murkier,” he wrote in a post-quarter final analysis.
“The reality is Ponting did what most great batsmen will do if they are given enough chances. The pity is he can no longer do it as regularly as he once did,” Anderson said.
Ricky Ponting’s competence to take on the likes of Dale Styne in the upcoming series against South Africa has also been questioned.
Well-respected cricket columnist Peter Roebuck had already given his verdict before the crucial tie at Ahmedabad stating that Ponting would have to go if Australia lost to India.
“Blow away the smoke and the situation becomes clear. Ponting is 36 years old, has been struggling for runs all season and his team has been losing,” Roebuck wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald Thursday.
It is not only the Aussie skipper, affably called Punter by his teammates and legion of fans, who is under fire but the belligerent Australian media is also asking for the selectors and team management to go as well.
“Then again Australia’s chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch had already stated that Ponting’s immediate future was assured. Just another reason why Hilditch must go when Cricket Australia completes its upcoming review,” the Herald Sun columnist also said.
The Hussey brothers are also under the scanner for their dismal World Cup performances and the advancing age.