SYDNEY - World Cup winner Ricky Ponting's one-day international career appeared over Monday after he was dropped from Australia's team after a dismal run of form, and was considering his future in the game.
Shane Watson was named in the Australia squad for the first time this season as selectors made a big call and dropped former skipper Ponting. Watson replaced Ponting in a 13-man squad after the ex-captain's lean run of form with just 18 runs in five knocks in the ODI series.
Selectors also recalled paceman Ryan Harris for Mitchell Starc and confirmed that Matthew Wade was their preferred wicketkeeper in the one-day form of the game to Test custodian Brad Haddin.
All-rounder Watson has not played for Australia this season since injuring a hamstring on the tour to South Africa late last year. "Shane Watson is an all-rounder of proven class and the selection panel is keen to have him re-join the squad," chief selector John Inverarity said on Monday.
Chief selector John Inverarity announced the axing of Ponting, the second all-time leading run-scorer in ODIs, after he scored just 18 runs in five tri-series knocks against India and Sri Lanka.
"Ricky Ponting has been dropped from the (ODI) squad due to his lack of form in the five tri-series matches to date," Inverarity said. Briefing reporters in Perth, Inverarity also said there were no guarantees Ponting would continue playing Test cricket, and that the former captain was pondering his next steps.
"Ricky is going to consider his future over the next couple of days and he'll talk it over with his family and with his manager, and my guess is he'll be giving a press conference in the next two or three days," he said. Ponting was expected to hold a press conference to outline his future in Sydney on Tuesday, according to sources at Cricket Australia.
Ponting, 37, said earlier that he wanted to battle through his current slump. He has averaged just 3.60 in his five tri-series innings. But Inverarity, while praising Ponting's contribution over a glittering 17-year ODI career, seemed to shut the door on any future for the veteran in Australia's one-day side. "The team will not seem the same without him, but moving on from the omission of players who have been outstanding over a long period of time is the nature of elite sport," he said. "He made a double century in his last Test match and we are hoping that he remains available for Test match cricket, but there can be no guarantees in elite sport and in the Australian cricket team."
Inverarity added: "If he drops out of the ODI team then there's a possible lack of momentum there. There are three Test matches in the West Indies (in April), then as I understand it there are no more Test matches until October or November."
Ponting's sacking comes less than a month after his dominant role in Australia's 4-0 clean sweep of the home Test series against India. He was second for most series runs only to Clarke, scoring 544 at 108.80 with two centuries and three 50s.
Squad: Michael Clarke (Capt), Shane Watson (vice-capt), Dan Christian, Xavier Doherty, Peter Forrest, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Brett Lee, Clint McKay, Matthew Wade, David Warner.