Sydney, February 20 (AFP):
World Cup winner Ricky Ponting's one-day international career appeared over on Monday after he was dropped from Australia's team after a dismal run of form, and was considering his future in the game.
Chief selector John Inverarity announced the axing of Ponting, the second all-time leading runscorer 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, 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."
The selectors dumped Ponting as they announced a 13-man squad with all-rounder Shane Watson returning for Australia's next two tri-series ODIs, against Sri Lanka in Hobart on Friday and India in Sydney next Sunday.
Ponting's sacking came a day after he led Australia to a crushing 110-run win over India in Brisbane as stand-in for injured skipper Michael Clarke. But while the other batsmen made merry, he scored just seven runs from 26 balls.
Ponting said after Sunday's victory that he had no intention of seeking a rest to freshen up.
"It's fair to say I've struggled in the first five games," he told reporters.
"I'm not going to put my hand up and say I want a break, because when you are going through a lean trot like I've had the last couple of games, you want to turn that around."
Ponting ranks second only to India's Sachin Tendulkar with most ODI runs (13,704) from 375 matches, while he has scored 13,200 runs in 162 Tests.
"Ricky's record speaks for itself," Inverarity said.
"He is one of the truly great performers in the history of Australian ODI cricket, with his reputation enhanced further by him captaining Australia to two World Cup victories."
Inverarity said that Ponting's contribution to the Australia ODI team went far beyond his batting statistics and brilliant fielding.
"The example he sets in every respect and his extraordinarily positive influence in the dressing-room is acknowledged by all," he said, while hailing Ponting's "selfless" willingness to stand in for Clarke recently.
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.