Wessels, Holding urge Ponting to retire by end of series against India
Cape Town (S Africa): Former Test greats have called on former skipper Ricky Ponting to retire by the end of this summer before he risks of being axed by the Australian selectors.
Following Australia`s eight-wicket loss to South Africa in the first Test, Ponting and a couple others in the Australian cricket team face the possibility of being asked to retire.
The others in the line of fire are opener Phil Hughes, misfiring pacer Mitchell Johnson and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin. The former Test skipper, who turns 37 next month, made eight and 0 in the Newlands capitulation.
Ponting has 245 Test runs in the past year at a lowly 18.84, and therefore, he is facing his cricketing mortality just a month shy of Australia`s home summer against New Zealand and India.
Former Australia and South Africa opener Kepler Wessels urged Tasmanian Ponting to make the toughest call of his glittering career before the selectors did it for him. "He can`t go on indefinitely. If he does all the right things, I think he`s got another 12 months left in him, but it`s never a good idea to hang on that long. You want to go out a bit earlier rather than a bit too late. The Indian series could be a good time to go,” the Sunday Herald Sun quoted Wessels, who played 24 Tests for Australia, as saying.
He added: "He`s the only one who will know. You know within when you are past your best, but I would hate to see someone like Ricky Ponting dropped from the side. I`d rather see him go before he is pushed."
Though Ponting continues to insist that he is feeling the best he has in two years, statistics reveal other wise. He now has one century from his past 55 international innings - his gutsy 104 against India in the World Cup quarter-final in March.
"At Ricky`s age you have to accept that if you`re not scoring runs you will be under pressure. His problem is he`s falling over and he`s very anxious at the beginning of his innings. He`s done a few things wrong in this Test match so somehow he has to correct that. When you get to your late 30s you start surviving on experience and technique because you just lose that little bit of sharpness that you had," Wessels said.
West Indies bowling great and commentator Michael Holding said: "I would hate to see someone as great a player as Ricky Ponting get to the stage where people start wondering why is he still playing." He added: "When you get to his stage of greatness, you don`t want to get to the point where people are saying it`s embarrassing to watch them. I don`t think Ricky has gotten to that stage yet, but I hope he doesn`t wait until that stage before he calls it a day."