Desperate Ponting ready to risk long-term injury to play Boxing Day TestBy ANI
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
MELBOURNE - Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting is in immense pain, but is quite desperate to play in the Boxing Day Ashes Test that begins from December 26.
According to the Herald Sun, Ponting, 36, will consider risking long-term damage if he feels capable of making a contribution when the fourth Test starts at the MCG on Sunday.
However, his situation has become so serious that the National Selection Panel (NSP) has called in New South Wales youngster Usman Khawaja as standby.
Khawaja will join the team in Melbourne this evening.
Ponting is unlikely to bat in the nets until Friday, only 48 hours before one of the biggest Tests of his career.
He will have to be “hidden” in the field, away from the normal second slip position where he injured the finger attempting a catch, because a knock on the injury might make him unable to bat at all.
Ponting’s standing in the game and the trust afforded in him by his teammates and Cricket Australia are such that the final decision on whether he will play will be his alone.
“For any other Test, we would probably take the conservative approach and Ricky wouldn’t play,” Australia’s physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said last night.
Kountouris added: “But this is a crunch Ashes Test. I don’t think Ricky is worrying about what it will mean for him in a few weeks. I saw him half an hour ago and his finger is twice as big as normal. That’s obviously a concern.”
He further said: “Fractures heal themselves, but they take time. He’s better than he was yesterday, but there is swelling and there is pain.”
Australia desperately needs Ponting’s 151 Tests worth of experience, his willingness to fight and his ability to lift his players for the big occasion, but cannot afford a passenger. (ANI)