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Border backs Ponting's decision

Press Trust Of India
Feb 22, 2012 at 12:02pm IST

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Sydney: Former Australian skipper Allan Border has backed Ricky Ponting's decision to continue playing Test cricket, saying the 37-year-old veteran remains a "walk-up start" in the line-up due to a lack of young batting talents.

Ponting on Tuesday confirmed he would continue playing Test cricket despite being axed from Australia's one-day squad after a dip in form.

"Ricky Ponting at his absolute best is a walk-up start.

Border backs Ponting's decision to play in Tests

Border said that Ponting remains a "walk-up start" in the line-up due to a lack of young talents.

"Ricky Ponting a little bit below his best is still heaps better than a lot of the young guys that we've got going around."

"He's got that passion for the game and the passion for the effort that goes in behind the scenes that people don't see. And while he thinks he can do it all, why not keep going?" Border said.

"I'm always reluctant to push these guys into retirement when they're not quite ready because we haven't got those four or five young players pushing these guys," he added.

Ponting's performance in the tri-series - which yielded just 18 runs from five innings - came after he scored 544 runs in the four-Test series against India earlier in the summer.

While Ponting along with Mike Hussey and Michael Clarke flourished in the Test series, youngsters such as Phillip Hughes, Shaun Marsh and Usman Khawaja failed to find their feet, and Border believes a lack of other options means Ponting still has important role to play.

Border was also of the view that while a selector's job is to ultimately make tough decisions, a player of Ponting's standing should have been treated differently to others.

"I do agree in 99 out of 100 times that you've got to make that clinical hard call, albeit in difficult scenarios.

"But there's also room to have some compassion as well. I think in all sports, there's certain people who have built up a certain amount of 'compassion points' and I think that comes into it. It's got to have some room in there.

"I think (Ponting has) been so good for so long. You can argue about what his status is, but in my mind he's probably our second best batsman behind Bradman that we've produced in all forms of the game. If you look at his record and the way he's conducted himself, I think he's been quite phenomenal," he said.

Border also believes the idea of a 'fairytale finish' to Ponting's career is only driven by the media, and isn't something the batsman is concerned about.

"I think it's the media and the media drives a bit of public sentimentality about that; the fairytale finish," Border said.

However, former Australian paceman Geoff Lawson feels Ricky Ponting is self-indulgent and says the batsman should have announced his retirement after the Adelaide Test against India last month.

"I thought the press conference was one of the most self-indulgent little pieces of self-interest I've seen for a long time.

"He said he wanted to go out on top. Well, he just made a double hundred in the Test match (in Adelaide last month). The only way he can go now is down. To retire after Adelaide would have been absolutely perfect," Lawson was quoted as saying.

The former Pakistan coach also urged the selectors to look for fresh talents.

"If he doesn't make runs in the three Shield games, I'm not sure why he should be going to the West Indies," Lawson said.

"Let's move on and get a young player in there," he added.

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