Ponting is not finished … just yet
Australia's Ricky Ponting walks after losing his wicket. (AAP Image/James Elsby
Ricky Ponting’s dismissal against South Africa yesterday wouldn’t have looked out of place as the opening of the Benny Hill show.
Jacques Kallis made the former Australian captain look ridiculous and it’s something he’ll be fairly keen to forget.
Ponting copped a ball that angled in before it moved away and crashed into the off-stump.
It was a good ball, but not one that was so unplayable that Ponting should’ve ended up almost flat on his face in the middle of the Adelaide Oval.
His front foot, instead of going out to the pitch of the ball, just swivelled on the crease while his back foot came through, squared him up and sent him to his knees.
It wasn’t the best look for a man who is trying to convince a skeptical public that father time hasn’t wearied him at all.
It was also one of life’s strange co-incidences that the fixture list for the return Ashes series in Australia was unveiled the day he looked his most fragile.
Whether he makes it to Trent Bridge for the first Test on the 10th of July or to the Gabba for the opening of the return bout on November 21 remains to be seen.
What’s important, for now, is that his current struggles are kept in perspective.
Ponting might’ve made a duck in Brisbane while pushing outside off at a Morne Morkel delivery and been left red-faced by Kallis yesterday, but his recent form hasn’t been disastrous.
He played four Sheffield Shield games against Tasmania in the lead-up to the first Test and scored 355 runs at an average of 118.33, including one century and two half-centuries.
The level of opposition might be completely different, but it still shows that he has been able to build an innings.
His eye-sight, footwork and decision making hasn’t suddenly become so poor (removing yesterday from your memory if you can) that even state trundlers consider him easy pickings.
At Test level in 2012, he has one double century and a century, both against India in January, and two half-centuries.
It has also only been two Test innings since he made 57 against the West Indies in Roseau.
The way in which he was dismissed yesterday was definitely concerning, especially given the performances of those who followed him to the crease, but he still has time to prove he isn’t a spent force.
If Ponting was the manager of English Premier League club Chelsea then he’d already be on a plane back to Sydney, but John Inverarity and his selection panel need to give the 37-year-old the rest of the summer.
If he continues to fail then his Ashes dream will remain just that, but for now, his axing would seem harsh.
You can follow Luke Doherty on Twitter @Luke_Doherty and on Sky News Australia.