Perth: Australia coach Mickey Arthur has thrown his support behind former captain Ricky Ponting's bid to contest a fifth Ashes series against England next year. Since handing the Australian Test captaincy to Michael Clarke, Ponting has been dropped from the ODI squad, putting the 37-year-old's playing future in doubt.
But Arthur, who is also on the board of selectors, reaffirmed his commitment to Ponting, backing the batsman to play a key role in Australia's quest to regain the Ashes. "I know there was a lot of media pressure and talk around Ricky, but Ricky's not going anywhere," Arthur said after arriving back in Australia on Tuesday following Australia's 2-0 Test series win against the West Indies.
Australia's next Test is not until the home series against South Africa starting in November, but Arthur said he has no concerns about Ponting losing his touch with the bat. "Ricky is definitely no way considering retiring; I wouldn't have thought from my conversations with him, and he'll be fit and ready to go against South Africa," he said. "We hope Ricky's scoring enough runs to go to the Ashes in England."
Ponting, a veteran of 165 Tests, has scored just 146 runs in his last three matches for an average of 24.33.