Ponting returns for crucial Sydney match against NZ
SYDNEY: Ricky Ponting has decided to return for leading his team in a bid to stop New Zealand from winning the One-day International series for the first time in Australia.
Ponting engaged in a rare act of public defiance last week when Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, decreed that he be rested from the second and third one-day internationals against New Zealand. Riding a three-game losing streak, and with team confidence eroding by the match, Ponting made clear his preference to play through the Chappell-Hadlee Series and postpone his scheduled break until the storm clouds had passed.
Hilditch, though, won out and Ponting played no role in the six-wicket defeat at the MCG on Friday.
That result took Australia''s losing skid to five games, and handed Daniel Vettori''s men an imposing 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. But Ponting has persuaded Hilditch that, with the series on the line, it was imperative he miss no further matches and be recalled immediately for Sunday''s third ODI in Sydney.
Nielsen announced Ponting''s recall on Saturday and despite his best attempts to portray the move as an affirmative action, he could not completely gloss over the selectors'' muddled handling of the situation. "He was really keen to play and he made sure that everybody that is involved with the team understood that."
The Australians arrived in Sydney on Saturday aware that another defeat would not only cost them the series, but also guarantee them an inglorious place in cricket''s annals. Only once in the 38-year history of ODIs has Australia lost six matches in a row, and Ponting will be desperate to prevent his team from adding its name to the list.