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Ponting should play on, critics should back off: Symonds, Gilchrist

December 9, 2011 - Melbourne

Former Test stars Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds say Ricky Ponting's critics should back off and have urged their former skipper to extend his career beyond his 37th birthday by batting on against India.

Ponting is playing his 158th Test against New Zealand at the Bellerive Oval.

There is speculation that the Tasmanian may drop a bombshell by retiring after his hometown Test.

The 36-year-old has eased the pressure valve with back-to-back half-centuries in his last two Tests, but the reality is Ponting is craving the drought-breaking ton that has eluded him for the past 29 Test innings spanning 23 months.

While former wicketkeeper Ian Healy has called on Ponting to retire immediately, Gilchrist has launched a passionate defence of his former skipper.

"His last two innings as a player have been as impressive as anything in quite a while," Fox Sports quoted Gilchrist, as saying.

He added: "I wouldn't expect him to be left out of the Indian series. He is keen to play on. He is the second best player from Australia after Sir Donald Bradman. Ricky is the only one to know when he should finish international cricket. I would say the selectors are quite keen to have him. I am sure he will be featuring in that series."

Symonds described Ponting as Australia's greatest Test run scorer and a man who had earned the right to retire from the game on his terms.

"It is disappointing that reports of that sort are coming out. They are unnecessary," said the former Test all rounder.

"He is a good batsman. It is up to him to decide whether to be in the game. He should be left alone," he added.


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