Test legend Matthew Hayden has thrown his support behind former teammate Ricky Ponting after the former skipper's failure at the Gabba on the weekend.
Ponting fell for a duck in Australia’s only innings in the first Test against South Africa, which led to renewed scrutiny of his place in the side.
The 38-year-old has expressed his desire to be part of Australia’s Ashes squad next year, but will need runs on the board this summer to keep the critics at bay.
Hayden, who played 90 of his 103 Test matches alongside Ponting, says suggestions his former teammate’s career is near the end are premature.
"Good form is on the board with Ricky," Hayden said in a 7News exclusive.
"He’s only been given one opportunity to bat and I think it’s a very, very tough call (to suggest his spot is in danger).
"If I was a selector I would most certainly have Ricky Ponting in the next Test match and in the one after that as well.
"I think he’s going to show Australia exactly why he’s been one of the greatest players on the planet for the last 20 years.
"I’ll be very, very surprised if we don’t see Ricky Ponting in top nick come the first ball of the next Test match."
Despite scoring three ducks from his past four innings against the Proteas, Ponting has been one of Australia’s most prolific batsmen in the past 12 months.
Before the Gabba Test, he had scored 789 runs in his past nine Test matches at an average of 56.35.
He had also scored 355 runs in four Sheffield Shield matches so far this summer at an average of well over 100.
Hayden said selectors should show faith in the same side that played the first Test and dismissed the suggestion that captain Michael Clarke should move up the batting order.
"Michael Clarke was absolutely brilliant both strategically in this Test match and also individually with the bat," he said.
"I wouldn’t be shifting him anywhere. No.5, that is his position at the moment."
The second Test begins in Adelaide next Thursday.
Australia will announce their squad at 1:30pm EDT on Friday
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