By inviting axe from Oz team, Ponting risking his legacy: Benaud

Sydney: Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting should consider retiring if he fails to shore up his Test future with a big score this week in Johannesburg, according to ex-national selector John Benaud.

Benaud, who was a national selector from 1988 to 1993 and is considered one of the architects of Australia’s rise two decades ago, said Ponting should be given the chance to play in the second Test against South Africa, starting on Thursday, but would need a compelling return to warrant selection for next month`s home series against New Zealand.

“The thing about Ricky is you hope like billy-o that he’s not going to be pig-headed and say, ‘I’m going to keep playing’, and he’s going to get dropped,” a leading daily quoted Benaud, as saying.

“If he is in terminal slide, you don’t want him playing against New Zealand in case he gets a couple of hundreds against someone who’s a bit weak and then gets in against some class again and it’s too much for him,” he said.

Benaud said Ponting, regarded by many as second only to Don Bradman as the best batsman Australia has produced, “probably should move on” rather than be tapped on the shoulder by a selector.

“Nobody wants a player of his talent and reputation to just get the chop. He’s obviously got to play in this Test here but the new panel will be having a pretty close look, I would think,” Benaud said.

“It would be sensible for Ricky to have a bit of a sit down and say to himself: ‘Is this going to end in tears or do I really, really have the talent that I had five years ago? Maybe two years ago? I think the signs have been there a little while that he’s been struggling a bit.”

Ponting has averaged above 40 in just one of his past six Test series. And he is without a century from his past 26 Test innings, including twin failures in Cape Town last week.


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