Sydney: All eyes were on the World Cup quarterfinal between India and Australia as some unnerving news for Australia captain Ricky Ponting might come falling, as speculation is rife that he is in his last week as the Oz skipper following a string of defeats and behavioural incidents that put him in a bad light.
The Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday said there was stiff opposition at boardroom level to the 36-year-old retaining the job for next month`s tour of Bangladesh, although his position as a player was not in jeopardy.
An unnamed Cricket Australia official was quoted as saying, "We`re waiting for the next thing to blow up. We don`t go a game without there being some issues with him."
"We need to be looking at the future. It`s time for us to make a change," the newspaper quoted the official as saying.
Ahead of the World Cup, Ponting earned the dubious distinction of becoming the only Australian skipper to fail to win the Ashes three times, putting him under enormous pressure.
He has also done himself no favours in India, taking a reprimand from the International Cricket Council after smashing a dressing-room TV in a fit of fury after being run out during Australia`s World Cup win over Zimbabwe.
He was also criticised for angrily throwing the ball to the ground after colliding with teammate Steven Smith during their victory over Canada. Then his sportsmanship was questioned when he failed to walk in Saturday`s defeat to Pakistan. "We`re waiting for the next thing to blow up," the official said. "We don`t go a game without there being some issues with him."
Meanwhile, another media report claimed that Ponting runs the risk of losing his captaincy after the World Cup and Australia may be led by Michael Clarke in next month`s tour of Bangladesh. "As Ponting prepares to lead his team against cricket superpowers India in Thursday night`s cut-throat World Cup quarter-final in Ahmedabad, it has emerged the 36-year-old faces as big a battle with Australian powerbrokers to hold on to his job," the report said.
"The Herald has been told by a senior Cricket Australia official there should at least be a discussion by the board on whether Ponting should lead the side to Bangladesh even if national selectors name the Tasmanian as captain for the tour."
Michael Clarke, who led Australia to an emphatic 6-1 one-day series victory over England to give them a boost after the post-Ashes despondency, is seen as favourite to take his job. The Australians face India in Thursday`s World Cup quarter-final in Ahmedabad.