Melbourne: Australian cricket is in a "mess", says former England captain Mike Gatting, who feels an out-of-form Ricky Ponting should step down as captain to ensure that his batting does not suffer.
"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," Gatting was quoted as saying by 'The Daily Telegraph'.
Gatting was the last English captain to clinch the Ashes in Australia when he led the team in the 1986-87 series.
The flamboyant former batsman said Ponting needs to rediscover himself and giving up captaincy would give him that space.
"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 said.
Ponting has scored just one hundred from his past 33 Test innings and has just 70 runs at 23.33 in two Tests this summer. Under him, the Aussies are trailing 0-1 in the ongoing Ashes series after losing the second Test in Adelaide.
Gatting, however, conceded that Australia does not have too many candidates to replace Ponting.
"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."