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Perform or perish: Aussie coach to Ponting and Hussey

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Canberra: Australia coach Mickey Arthur acknowledges that the presence of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey is important for the development of the side in transition but says they must perform to keep their place in the team.

Ponting and Hussey have been in the firing line after being inconsistent with the bat in the drawn series against South Africa and New Zealand.

The focus is more on Ponting’s selection in the squad for the first Test against India starting Monday. Some former players have called for the ex-captain’s inclusion while the others feeling that the 37-year-old batsman is well past his prime.

The squad for the Boxing Day Test will be announced Wednesday morning and coach Arthur said nobody was guaranteed a place in the team on the basis of past performances.

“I don’t think anyone’s guaranteed a start,” Arthur told reporters at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) when asked about Ponting’s selection for the match.

“Ricky Ponting is really vital to where we want to take this team. We are really hoping that he finds his form and hopefully that form is just around the corner.

“I have backed Ricky Ponting in, like I have backed Mike Hussey in for a period of time because I think they are crucial to the development of the side.

“For our young batters, to bat with guys like that is fantastic, but, again, they need to keep giving us ammunition, they need to keep giving us performances.

“Nobody is guaranteed a start, nobody has got a privilege to play in the Australian cricket team. They have got to be producing the goods and giving us ammunition to play.”

Ponting last made a hundred in January 2010 though he showed glimpses of his old form by scoring consecutive centuries in the last four Tests. Hussey has failed to reach the 50-run mark in his last seven innings.

Talking about the batting camp here, Arthur said all batsmen have been told on where they need to improve. “I think we just want to see Ricky accessing the ball a little bit,” he said. (IANS)

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