At 36, former Australian captain Ponting might be the same age as Simon Katich, but he’s adamant the axing of the former Test opener hasn’t affected his confidence and mindset.
While Ponting admits being disappointed with his recent batting record, he says he’s putting no more pressure on himself than usual going into the first Test against South Africa on Wednesday.
Ponting’s last big score was 209 against Pakistan at Hobart in January 2010. And his last half century was almost a year ago in the first Ashes Test at Brisbane.
Usman Khawaja is waiting in the wings, but Ponting can feel a big score coming.
“I honestly don’t think I’m far away. I have to keep preparing the way I know will work for me and give me a chance to score runs on Wednesday,” said Ponting on Monday.
“I had a couple of the best training sessions I’ve had down in Potchefstroom (for last week’s tour match) … that was the best I’ve batted in and out of games for a couple of years.
“But … we’re judged on our performances in the middle and how many runs we score and I probably let a couple of good opportunities slip in Sri Lanka (twice out in the 40s).
“We (older players) know what happened there (with Katich) but it doesn’t make it any harder for us … I know that it’s up to me to keep scoring a lot of runs for the Australian cricket team.
“I certainly don’t feel under any more pressure going into this series than I’ve ever put on myself.”
Ponting said no longer being captain and moving down the batting order to No.4 has taken away a lot of heat.
The Tasmanian insists he hasn’t determined the right time to end his great international career.
“I’ve never put a finish date on my career. I don’t see a finish line yet,” Ponting said.
“Things haven’t been as I would have liked for the past 12 months. I haven’t scored a Test hundred in that period of time. I want to make sure that I’m getting back to playing somewhere near my best cricket.
“If I can do that then who knows, the Ashes might not be out of the question.
“My destiny lies in my hands, really. I’m enjoying the game and the challenge as much as ever.”