Ponting still best man for job, says Hussey

Michael Hussey backed Ricky Ponting to silence his critics in Thursday's World Cup last-eight clash against India as reports emerged the star batsman was set to be axed as Australia captain.

The Sydney Morning Herald said there was stiff opposition at boardroom level to the 36-year-old retaining the captaincy for next month's tour of Bangladesh, although his position as a player was not in jeopardy.

"We need to be looking at the future. It's time for us to make a change," the newspaper quoted the official as saying."

But Hussey said of Ponting: "He's been fine, no worries at all. He's been fantastic around the team.

"From my point of view he's the best man for the job, and has been our leader for a long time. He's certainly got the full support of all the team. We love having him as our captain."

Ahead of the World Cup, Ponting earned the dubious distinction of becoming the only Australian skipper to fail to win the Ashes three times, putting him under enormous pressure.

He has also done himself few favours in India, taking a reprimand from the International Cricket Council after breaking a dressing-room TV in a fit of fury after being run out during the win over Zimbabwe.

He was also criticised for angrily throwing the ball to the ground after colliding with teammate Steven Smith during the champions' victory over Canada.

Then his sportsmanship was questioned when he failed to walk in Saturday's defeat by Pakistan. 

"Ricky's got our 100 percent support," said Hussey. "It's amazing, it seems like he's been copping criticism over very minor things, and that things have been blown way out of proportion from our point of view."

In the midst of everything else, Ponting's form is also a concern.

He managed just 102 runs at 20.40 in six matches in the group phase of this World Cup and the Tasmanian hasn't made an international century for 13 months.

But Hussey said Ponting, who scored a superb hundred against India in Australia's 2003 World Cup final victory in Johannesburg, could raise his game when it mattered most.

"I've been watching Ricky in the nets and the way he's been preparing. He's playing very well and it's just amazing sometimes how champions just rise to the occasion at the right time.

"Against India on Thursday in the World Cup is one of those times where I think we'll see the best of Ricky Ponting."

Michael Clarke, who led Australia to an emphatic 6-1 one-day series victory over England after the Ashes reverse, is reportedly being lined up to replace Ponting as captain.

Print Email