The career of one of Australia’s greatest ever cricketers is set to go on the line in Perth this weekend.
Veteran Ricky Ponting is under immense pressure to keep his spot in the side after scoring just 20 runs in three innings against South Africa.
The 38-year-old is expected to be given another chance in the third Test, which starts in Perth on Friday.
But with age against him and younger batsmen knocking on the door, Ponting knows his career may be over if he fails again.
"I'm a realist," he said on Sunday.
"I live in the real world and I know if I'm not getting runs I might not make the summer out and I definitely won't be in England (for the Ashes in 2013).
"If I score runs then I will get myself selected. If I don't, I will leave the door open for someone else to come in my spot."
Selectors have several batsmen to turn to should Ponting’s poor run of form continue.
Highly-credentialed youngsters Phillip Hughes and Usman Khawaja have been standouts in domestic cricket this summer, while lesser known batsmen like Alex Doolan, Callum Ferguson and Joe Burns have also been impressive.
Calls for Ponting to retire mirror the criticism he received 12 months ago when his form deteriorated.
He responded with a brilliant series against India last summer, which saw him fail to pass 50 just once in six innings.
With his short-term future secure, Ponting began the domestic season strongly and looked primed for another big summer of Test cricket.
"The disappointing thing for me about the start of this Test series is I have felt in really good touch" he said.
"My (Sheffield) Shield stuff early season has been really good and I actually felt I was batting better than I had in a few years."
Ponting's two dismissals in Adelaide indicate his footwork and reflexes may be on the decline.
Bowled on both occasions, he slipped and was embarrassingly left on his hands and knees in the first innings after a brilliant swinging delivery from Jacques Kallis beat his bat and hit off stump.
The veteran knows the pressure is on to turn his form around.
"I haven't spoken to the selectors anything about my immediate future and they haven't spoken to me about it either," Ponting said.
"I'm sure that conversation is going to come in the near future but nothing has happened just yet."
If Ponting is selected for Perth as expected, he will equal Steve Waugh’s Australian record of 168 Tests.
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