Ponting dropped from Australia ODI squad

Brisbane: Ricky Ponting`s ODI career appears to be over after the two-time World Cup-winning skipper was today dropped from Australia`s squad for their next two matches in the ongoing tri-series also involving India and Sri Lanka.

Even as Ponting was ignored, all-rounder Shane Watson, skipper Michael Clarke and Ryan Harris returned to the 13-man squad after recovering from injuries. The selection committee has lost patience with the 37-year-old out-of-form Ponting, who has scored just 18 runs from five innings at an average of 3.6.

The failure against India at the Gabba on Sunday must have sounded the death knell on his ODI career. "Ricky Ponting has been dropped from the squad due to his lack of form in the five Commonwealth Bank Series matches to date in this series," chairman of selectors John Inverarity said in a statement today.

"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. Ricky`s record speaks for itself. 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," he added.

Under Ponting, Australia have won ODI`s biggest prize in 2003 in South Africa, where he pulverised India in the final with a big hundred, and then defended the title in the West Indies four years later.

"Ricky`s contribution goes far beyond his batting statistics and his brilliant fielding. The example he sets in every respect and his extraordinarily positive influence in the dressing-room is acknowledged by all. He is held in the highest possible regard by his teammates and there is no higher accolade than this. Ricky being prepared to take over the captaincy in Michael Clarke`s recent absence for the sake of the team is yet another example of his selfless attitude and team-first focus," Inverarity said.

Out of action for the past few months, Watson proved his fitness by turning out for NSW`s match against Western Australia in Perth. The allrounder has not represented Australia since getting injured in South Africa three months ago. "He is an all-rounder of proven class and the NSP (National Selection Panel) is keen to have him rejoin the squad," Inverarity said.

Pacer Harris returned at the expense of left-armer Mitchell Starc. "Mitchell will benefit greatly from the Tests and the ODIs he has played. His development as a player of the future is most encouraging," Inverarity said.

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