Cricket: Ponting due for big score says Hussey

Two of Ricky Ponting's fellow 2007 World Cup winners say the skipper is set to to unleash a big hundred against India in Thursday's quarter-final.

Ponting is battling poor form (102 runs at 20.40), a finger injury, age and negative press back home ahead of the knockout clash in Ahmedabad.

A report in The Sydney Morning Herald quotes a senior Cricket Australia source saying it's time to dump the skipper and hand vice-captain Michael Clarke leadership of the team.

While hinting that 36-year-old Ponting may contemplate handing over the one-day reins, Adam Gilchrist drew parallels with Australia's 1999 World Cup captain Steve Waugh.

"If he is not going to the next World Cup it may well be time for everyone to sit down and work out the direction forward in the limited overs version," Gilchrist said.

"I don't know what he is thinking, so I won't speculate.

"But I do know that in 1999 when there were rumours that Steve Waugh was told he would lose the captaincy if we bowed out of that World Cup, he scored one of the great World Cup hundreds ever against South Africa and we went on to win the World Cup.

"Maybe this is the inspiration Ricky needs."

Former opening batsman Gilchrist said he was gobsmacked that Ponting had been pilloried for his World Cup behaviour.

"His reaction to bumping into Steve Smith, maybe that is not quite the right message to be sending but it was spur of the moment frustration and they are all big boys," he said.

"And he has never walked. There is nothing worse than selective walkers.

"Ricky has remained consistent with his beliefs. You can't question that."

Middle-order batsman Mike Hussey backed his skipper and said critics had gone too far.

"I hope that's all untrue," Hussey said of speculation Ponting could face the axe.

"We love having him as our captain.

"It seems like he's been copping criticism over very minor things, and that things have been blown way out of proportion from our point of view.

"It's just amazing sometimes how champions just rise to the occasion at the right time.

"Against India on Thursday in the World Cup is one of those times where I think we'll see the best of Ricky Ponting."

Meanwhile Hussey was upbeat about Australia's hopes of winning an unprecedented fourth consecutive title.

"We have played well against India in Indian conditions in the last few years, and won some very tough series," Hussey said.

"This is a huge game. We believe that if we can beat India then we have a great chance of going all the way."

- AAP

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