Ricky Ponting's telling call as David Warner drama goes from bad to worse

Ricky Ponting, pictured here alongside David Warner.
Ricky Ponting has addressed David Warner's lean run of form in Test cricket. Image: Getty

Ricky Ponting has called on David Warner to decide his own Test future after the Aussie opener's lean run continued with a horror showing in the first Test against South Africa. Warner was dismissed for a golden duck in the first innings at the Gabba, before falling for just three in the second.

Kagiso Rabada claimed his wicket for the sixth time in Tests when he had the Aussie opener caught at second slip by Saral Erwee on Sunday. In the first innings, Rabada produced a brute of a ball straight at Warner's body, which he fended to Khaya Zondo at short leg for a brilliant one-handed catch. It marked just the second golden duck in Warner's illustrious Test career.

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"A good short one, David Warner just took his eye off the ball (and) got it high on the bat," Mark Waugh said on Fox Cricket. "Nothing's gone David Warner's way – he keeps making mistakes and keeps paying a high price."

Warner hasn't scored a Test century in nearly three years. The last time he reached triple figures in the longest form of the game was in January 2020. Since the start of the Ashes series last summer he is averaging just 21.8.

Addressing Warner's form last week, Aussie coach Andrew McDonald said the 36-year-old remains in the team's plans for next year's blockbuster tours of India and England. But if he can't make runs against South Africa after also missing out against the West Indies, he might not be on the plane to India come February.

Speaking in commentary for Channel 7, former Australia captain Ponting backed Warner to find form soon. However he urged the New South Welshman to take matters into his own hands in deciding his future in Test cricket.

David Warner, pictured here after being dismissed by Kagiso Rabada in the first Test between Australia and South Africa.
David Warner walks off after being dismissed by Kagiso Rabada in the first Test between Australia and South Africa. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

"He is a champion player - you never write off champion players ever," Ponting said. "He is going through a lean trot now - we all want to see him scoring runs. When he finishes, he deserves to go out on his term. He has been a magnificent stalwart for Australian cricket.

"That is the most disappointing thing for David. He got those 20s, and got the starts against the West Indies and didn't go on when everyone else at the top made the most of a weak West Indian side.

"He deserves the chance to finish the way he wants to finish. I would hate to see him get to an Indian tour or at the start of the Ashes tour and then get the tap on the shoulder. That would be a disappointing way for his career to end."

Aussies back David Warner to find form

Warner has amassed nearly 8000 Test runs for Australia at an average of 46.04. He has 24 Test centuries to his name and will go down as one of the country's best players.

But with four Tests in India coming up before a showdown with England for the Ashes in July, Aussie selectors may be forced to make a brutal call. Warner has averaged just 24.25 across two tours of India in 2013 and 2017, and struggled mightily the last time the Ashes were held in England in 2019. He was dismissed by Stuart Broad in seven out of his 10 innings and averaged below 10.

"At this stage, we've got him in our plans for India," McDonald said last week. "We'll see what happens in the next three Test matches, but at this stage he's firmly in our thoughts for India."

Teammate Marnus Labuschagne said he couldn't fault Warner's attitude ahead of the South Africa series. "Davey has been terrific around the group. He's always brings the energy," Labuschagne said.

"He knows what his role in the team is ... he's got a great record against South Africa and he's going to be looking to put the pressure on and do what he does best. You don't become one of the greatest openers Australia's seen not being a consistent performer. He's had many things thrown in amongst his career, there's been many things that have tried to sort of push him in certain directions, but he always seems to find a way to come on top."

with AAP

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