Gatting urges Ponting to walk away from Oz captaincy to prolong Test career

Friday, December 10, 2010

LONDON - Former England batsman Mike Gatting reckons that Australian captain Ricky Ponting can reinvent himself as a batting force and prolong his Test career if he walked away from his captaincy role.

Ponting has hit just one century in his past 33 Test innings, and has scored 70 runs at 23.33 in two Tests of the ongoing Ashes series.

The 35-year-old’s captaincy future is also under intense scrutiny, with the champion batsman being just one Test defeat away from becoming the first Australian captain since Billy Murdoch 120 years ago to lose three Ashes series.

“If you took the captaincy off him, or he walks, Ricky might be a better player without having to worry about the trials and tribulations of a captain,” quoted Gatting, as saying.

“All of a sudden, that might re-invent Ricky Ponting for three or four years which would be great for Australian cricket. Australia needs to decide what to do with him. It’s not Ricky’s fault, it’s the players’ fault collectively.”

“The issue will be whether Ricky can just go back to being a player and a batsman in his own right,” he added.

Gatting further said that Michael Clarke is the only player who can replace Ponting as captain.

“It says a bit about why Australia are in a mess at the moment. There’s no standout candidate to replace him as captain, other than Clarke,” Gatting said.

“Does Australia have a better option than Ricky? Maybe not, but they might decide they need a fresh outlook to get the team and Ricky going again,” he added. (ANI)

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