November 29, 2012
Ricky Ponting has called time on his illustrious test career – he will play his 168th and last match against South Africa at the WACA, staring on 30 November. He will finish on the same number of caps as his predecessor Steve Waugh. To date, he has scored an Australian-record 13,366 runs at an average of 52.21, including 41 centuries and a highest score of 257. Only Sachin Tendulkar, who is in a similar stage in his career, is ahead of him in appearances and aggregate runs. After a run of poor form, Ponting is adamant that the decision to go now is his and his alone. It means that Australia will be looking for a new batsman at number 4 who will have three tests against Sri Lanka to bed in before Australia take on England in two consecutive Ashes series. By all accounts, tears were flowing today in the Australian dressing room and crowds are sure to give Ponting an emotional send off as he walks out to bat for Australia for the last time. He intends to carry on playing domestic cricket for Tasmania, at least for the current season. On the international scene, ‘Punter’, one of the most combative cricketers who successfully captained Australia for a decade, will be sorely missed.
England has taken a sensible decision to reduce the possibility of Performance Director Andy Flower suffering from burnout from the relentless international schedule. With immediate effect, he will step down from the day-to-day management of England’s ODI and T20 sides, to be replaced in this role by Ashley Giles, currently England selector and coach of champion county Warwickshire. Giles’ first assignment will be in the short T20 series in India before Christmas, which follows immediately after the end of the current test series. Flower will now take on a more strategic role in the England set up and will take breaks away from the team during the various one-day series and tournaments. Warwickshire have agreed to Giles’ relinquishing his role at the county, but he will continue as an England selector and obviously will work closely with Flower in all aspects of team planning.
The Scoop 29/11/12