Oz coach Arthur says ‘under fire’ Ponting is a ‘big part of this team’

Port of Spain: Australian cricket coach Mickey Arthur cannot understand why questions are being raised over veteran batsman Ricky Ponting’s international future.

Ponting has not crossed a score of 50 in any of his past four innings this series, but Arthur said had he not been aged 37, ``we certainly wouldn`t be having this debate``.

``I`ve been very happy with the way Ricky`s gone. He had a run out which wasn`t his fault. He got a run out which scuttled along the deck and he got a pretty good delivery in the first innings here,`` The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Arthur, as saying in Trinidad.

``I`m not perturbed by him at all. I think Ricky`s looked better and better. I thought Ricky looked really good [in the second innings], I thought his movements were crisper, I thought he played really well, I`m really encouraged by what I`ve seen,” he added.

Arthur said no comparisons should be made between the current scenario and Ponting`s axing from the Australian ODI squad in February 2012 following his disastrous run.

Clarke said he still saw Australia`s highest Test run-scorer as a ``big part of this team``.

``People expect him to make 50 or 100 every time he walks out to bat and that`s not the game. He`s playing some really good cricket. I don`t need to make excuses for Ricky, I`ve seen him bat for a long time,” he said.

Arthur said Australia were ``making some really good strides`` towards 2013 Ashes series, but admitted they had some way to go before they could call themselves the World`s No.1 side.


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