Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Call for Ponting to rest during Games with Little at Stake

Nothing highlights the importance of the ashes more than the recent Herald Sun article calling for Rick Ponting to rest during matches that have little at stake.

The call comes in the hope that Ponting would be able to finish off a successful career by trying to win the ashes on home soil in 2010-11.

The article by Jon Pierik is as follows:

THERE'S arguably been no greater street-fighter than Ricky Ponting in Australian cricket, but not even he is immune to the ravages of time.

Soon to turn 34, the Australian captain may have another two years left at the top if he looks after himself and decides what really is important to him.

That must be retaining the Ashes next year in England and ending his glorious career in one final stoush for the famous urn on Australian soil in 2010-11.

This means he must dedicate himself to Test cricket, but Australia may have to use the model adopted by India and Sachin Tendulkar to help him negotiate limited overs and Twenty20 cricket.

Once this summer is over, Australia plays three Tests in South Africa and five in England. Ponting must lead in all.

There's also a Twenty20 World Cup in England on the eve of the Ashes. He must also be there for that.

But surely there needs to be a rethink on whether he is required for five one-day matches in South Africa, seven in England after the Ashes, the rescheduled Champions Trophy tournament and another mindless one-day series in India.

Michael Clarke, 27, has done a good job already in his brief appearances as stand-in skipper, and can continue to develop in this role when Ponting takes a breather.

"There has never been a better time to be a state cricketer," said one CA official recently.

"There's so much cricket for Australia, there's bound to be injuries. But is that a good thing that blokes who may not really deserve to take that step up will be given more opportunities?"
The cricketing public wants to see great and entertaining players, like Ponting, play all the time.

But that's now impossible because of ridiculously crowded schedules.

However, there is no need for Ponting to go cold turkey on one facet of the game - as Tendulkar has from international Twenty20 matches.
Ponting is still one of the game's premier fieldsmen and athletes, as his scorching catch in Adelaide proved, so it's just plain silly to bypass international Twenty20.

But what he may have to do is reconsider his commitment to the riches of the Indian Premier League. Ponting has been told by medicos he needs rest to help heal his aching right wrist. He has also battled back and ankle injuries in recent years.

But will the lure of almighty dollar prove too great?

End of Herald Sun article.

Even if Ponting were to rest during mindless one day matches there is no guarantee that he will be around for the 2010-11 series.

I'm pretty sure that Ponting will be eyeing the game of international cricket as Hayden currently is, and that is one game at a time!

As a sportsman Ponting will want to play every match but will also know when he is mentally and physically drained. As long as he listens to his body he will continue to play world class cricket for a while yet.

But the 2010 ashes series will never be a guarantee.