Ferguson backs Ponting's 'fantastic' T20 exit

Rising star Callum Ferguson believes Australia captain Ricky Ponting has made a "fantastic" decision in deciding to quit Twenty20 Internationals.

updated: September 08, 2009 10:00 IST
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Rising star Callum Ferguson believes Australia captain Ricky Ponting has made a "fantastic" decision in deciding to quit Twenty20 Internationals if it helps extend his time with the national side.

"He's come out and said it's going to help prolong his career for Australia and I think that's a great thing," Ferguson told reporters at the squad's hotel here on Monday.

"The longer we've got him playing at the top level playing in whatever format he chooses, that's fantastic for us because he's such a great leader."

Ponting, who made his announcement in Sydney on Monday before flying back for the conclusion of an England tour that last month saw Australia lose the Ashes, said: "I feel this decision provides me an opportunity to prolong my Test and one-day career, an opportunity I am extremely determined about."

During Ponting's post-Ashes break, Australia have built a 2-0 lead in their seven-match one-day international (ODI) series against England.

And South Australia batsman Ferguson has been to the fore in both victories.

Friday saw the 24-year-old Redbacks right-hander named man-of-the-match for his ODI best 71 not out in Australia's series opening four-run win at the Oval.
And two days later, at Lord's, he was again Australia's top-scorer, this time with 55, as the world champions won by 39 runs.

After 16 ODIs, Ferguson boasts an impressive average of 56.

Although Ferguson has yet to play Test cricket, Ponting said on Monday the first time he saw him he believed him to be a "Test player in waiting".
"Obviously, coming from such a fantastic legend of Australian cricket, it's fantastic of him to say that and very kind," Ferguson said ahead of Wednesday's third ODI at the Rose Bowl.

"I'd love to get there at some stage, but time will tell."

What has made middle-order batsman Ferguson's last two innings all the more creditable is that he has come in with Australia in trouble after losing a cluster of wickets in quick succession.

"It's been handy having the guys out in the middle that I've had," Ferguson said. "Cameron White is in good form and obviously Michael (Clarke) was there in the first one-day game.

"It always helps when you've got guys who've got some experience under their belt to converse with while you're out there.

"With their help, we've managed to work our way through the situations reasonably well."

Ferguson has been criticised for not making the most of promising starts but at both Lord's and the Oval he cashed in with some assured strokeplay.
"I think it's probably a calmness thing," he said. "I think that's where the South Australian side made big strides last year.

"We really focused on making sure we stayed calm in the really important situations during the game, the key moments," added Ferguson, who during the last Australian domestic season scored 644 Sheffield Shield runs with two hundreds and three fifties.

"Having the senior guys batting around me with the Australian side has also helped me continue to improve in that area and see the innings through rather than blow-out in the 40th over."

Like many Australian players before him, Ferguson gained experience of English conditions thanks to a spell in league cricket.

"I played for Netherfield Cricket Club last year in the Northern League," Ferguson said. "I thoroughly enjoyed that and probably the added responsibility of being a pro aided me a little bit in trying to become a better cricketer."