Sydney, Dec 13: Australian cricket coach Mickey Arthur feels that Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey still have a lot to offer to the Australian team and are guaranteed a place in the team that takes on India in the Boxing Day Test starting Dec 26.
Ponting especially has come under immense pressure from the media and former players for his prolonged run drought. Calls for his head grew stronger after Australia’s batting collapse in the Hobart Test Monday as New Zealand snatched their first Test win in Australia in 26 years.
Hussey too has looked totally out of sorts, registering his second golden duck of the month and capped a second straight horror series with the bat.
‘We’re certainly not managing yet how they (Ponting and Hussey) go out of the side. In my opinion they have still got big roles to play because we do need some experience within our middle order, there’s no doubt about it. They bring that experience that we need. We haven’t even come to any thought on how we manage any exit on any of those players. The key for us is the get them up firing on Boxing Day, because they are key,’ Arthur was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.com.
Ponting who will turn 37 days before the Boxing Day Test match has failed to score a hundred in 31 innings in almost two years.
‘I think he should play on,’ Arthur said of Ponting after the Hobart Test.
‘I’ve had a chat already with selector Rod Marsh, we are trying to give ourselves a bit of direction to Boxing Day. I still think Ricky fits very firmly in that picture.’
Shane Watson is likely to be back for the India series and is all set to reclaim his opening spot from the Phillip Hughes who is likely to be dropped.
Shaun Marsh is still recovering from back injury that kept him out of the New Zealand series and will miss the First Test against India. Usman Khawaja who had an impressive showing in the tour of South Africa will possibly replace him.