Melbourne: Former players, including Australia`s ex-captain Allan Border, have thrown their weight behind the embattled Ricky Ponting with one of them saying that the senior batsman is capable of emulating Indian Rahul Dravid`s return to form after a prolonged lean patch.
The 36-year-old Ponting has been facing calls for ouster due to a slump in form, but he answered his critics well by scoring a half century in the first Test against New Zealand last week.
New Zealand cricket legend Sir Richard Hadlee said Ponting lends stability to a young Australian batting line-up.
"...you`ve got three pretty inexperienced top order players," Hadlee said.
"He came in and made a huge difference in that match at the Gabba. And I thought his feet were moving nicely, he had the confidence to play some shots, he still averages 50 in Test cricket and you need that experience at the moment.”
"Ricky, I`m sure, will know when it`s time. And he deserves that opportunity to call it and not be pushed because I think it`d be sad if that happened," he said.
Former Australian player Greg Blewett felt a dip in form should not be taken for a permanent slump as Ponting could be Australia`s answer to Dravid.
"...what I`ve seen in the last couple of innings just proves to me that he just went through a rough trough. Just because you`re 36 and you go through a rough trot doesn`t mean you`re finished," Blewett said.
"Rahul Dravid has shown that. He scored one century in 20 Tests and all of a sudden he`s back playing brilliant cricket again. I can`t see any reason why Ricky can`t do that," he added.
Support also came from Border, who said Ponting still adds value to the team.
"My selection philosophy is if I can make the side better, I would look at it very closely.”
"Ricky Ponting, he`s built up a lot of brownie points in my book, as a selector. I don`t know whether there`s a better player than him going around at the moment. But there will come a time, no doubt," he asserted.