Oz coach Arthur says 'under fire' Ponting is a 'big part of this team'

Port Of Spain, Apr 22(ANI): Australian cricket coach Mickey Arthur cannot understand why questions are being raised over veteran batsman Ricky Ponting's international future.

Ponting has not crossed a score of 50 in any of his past four innings this series, but Arthur said had he not been aged 37, "we certainly wouldn't be having this debate".

"I've been very happy with the way Ricky's gone. He had a run out which wasn't his fault. He got a run out which scuttled along the deck and he got a pretty good delivery in the first innings here," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Arthur, as saying in Trinidad.

"I'm not perturbed by him at all. I think Ricky's looked better and better. I thought Ricky looked really good [in the second innings], I thought his movements were crisper, I thought he played really well, I'm really encouraged by what I've seen," he added.

Arthur said no comparisons should be made between the current scenario and Ponting's axing from the Australian ODI squad in February 2012 following his disastrous run.

Clarke said he still saw Australia's highest Test run-scorer as a "big part of this team".

"People expect him to make 50 or 100 every time he walks out to bat and that's not the game. He's playing some really good cricket. I don't need to make excuses for Ricky, I've seen him bat for a long time," he said.

Arthur said Australia were "making some really good strides" towards 2013 Ashes series, but admitted they had some way to go before they could call themselves the World's No.1 side. (ANI)

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