Sydney: Australian captain Ricky Ponting has been worn down as a batsman by the pressures of leading a faltering Test team, according to batting coach Justin Langer.
Ponting is in the middle of one of the worst form slumps of his career, as his tally in the Ashes series so far is a paltry 113 at an average of 16.14.
The 36-year-old has passed 50 just once in the second innings of the Brisbane Test on a wicket that was tailor-made for batting.
“Watching our most esteemed player over the last few weeks, I am certain his selfless efforts within the group over the last two years have worn him down. His recent form suggests his mind isn’t as clear as it is when he is at his best, blasting drives or pulling off the front foot in his masterful and at times ruthless fashion,” The Age quoted Langer, as saying.
“Hard as he has trained and prepared, he has shown that sometimes the harder you try the worse things get. He built this series up so much in his mind that he hasn’t been able to find his usual flow at the crease.”
“This series has shown that he is not a run-machine, but rather a man who has the same frailties as the rest of us and I am certain that he will be stronger and wiser for the tough experience he has just lived through,” he added.
The 40-year-old however believes that Ponting still has lot to offer the team.
“Knowing him as I do, I also believe he will use the harsh criticism levelled at him as fuel to stoke the fire in his belly,” Langer said.
“I have no doubt he will be back playing Test cricket in the new year,” he added.
Australia currently trails the five-match Ashes series 2-1, with the final Test to be played in Sydney from January 2.