By emerging as Australia’s most consistent batsman in the first Test against India, former captain Ricky Ponting has both answered his critics and likely batted himself into selection for the remainder of the four-match series.
But according to Ponting, the persistent scrutiny of his form and calls for the 37-year-old’s retirement have never been a factor in his motivation to perform.
“I don’t care about that. It’s my job to be a consistent run-scorer for Australia and do my best to win games of cricket for Australia,” Ponting said on Wednesday after making a second innings 60 to back up his 62 from the first innings.
“I don’t care what people from outside the dressing room are saying,” he said. “If I think I’ve got support from people inside the dressing room, that’s all really matters to me.”
Ponting, one of Australia’s greatest ever batsmen, scored his most recent century against Pakistan two years ago and is clearly frustrated at still failing to reach triple figures.
“It’s nice to get a few runs and spend some time in the middle, but by the same token when you spend that amount of time in the middle and get past 50, as a top-order batter it’s then your job to go on and get big scores,” he said. “I’m disappointed I haven’t been able to do that in either innings of this game.”
Ponting has been working on his technique in recent months and has moved down the order from No. 3 to No. 5 in a bid to regain his form.
“Deep down I know what I have to do to be the best player I can be and I’ve been trying to do that for a long time,” he said.
The Test veteran was greeted with a standing ovation by the 70,000-plus crowd when he first took to the Melbourne Cricket Ground wicket on Monday, and received a similar response for each of his half-centuries.
“One thing I’ve noticed, right through the last few months when things haven’t been going they way I wanted, the support from the public has been outstanding,” Ponting said.
“This week it’s been really nice, one to walk out on the field for the start of my first innings. I got a really loud cheer there, and then when I got 50 in each innings I’ve got a lot of support from then public here in Melbourne.”
Keywords: India's tour of Australia