Former Black Cap Chris Cairns says Ricky Ponting should step down from the Australian cricket side following the two-test series against the Black Caps starting tomorrow.
Ponting is set to play in his 157th test for Australia in Brisbane tomorrow, his first on home soil since resigning as the side's captain in March.
Despite having 39 test centuries to his name the 36-year-old has failed to find form in 2011 averaging 24.25 in four tests with a high score of 62.
Cairns, who played 62 tests for New Zealand, told the Daily Telegraph that Ponting is holding the Australian side back and should retire.
"He is the elephant in the room. Nobody is making the right decision and they (Cricket Australia) are allowing Ponting to make that decision.
"Previously (skipper) Mark Taylor didn't have that luxury. Mark Waugh, Ian Healy ... Australia have always been very aggressive with how they go about things. But in this instance they've allowed it to drift on.
"While he's there the conjecture will always be there. The team has to put up with that and that can be quite distracting.
"If he doesn't score any in the Test match, they'll keep talking about it, and that drains a team as well.
"Hobart is the time to finish it. It's just whether the selectors have the foresight to let him move on."
Despite the form slump Ponting is confident of producing the goods against New Zealand, a team he has a good record against.
He heads into the series with an average of 57 against the Black Caps in 15 tests, including two centuries.
"Someone's going to pay at some stage," he said told the Herald Sun this week.
"I'm working too hard for someone not to pay.
"That's the way I'm looking at it, but I've been saying that for a couple of months."
- HERALD ONLINE