Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting captain believes David Warner may have missed the perfect chance for a fairytale retirement during the home summer of cricket.
Warner’s Test career is hanging by a thread after he was forced to return home from India after fracturing his elbow in the second Test.
The veteran opener was enduring a nightmare tour, registering scores of 1, 10 and 15 before getting concussed and injured.
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Warner has scored 25 centuries from 103 Tests at an average of 45.57, but his form has dipped in recent years and the 36-year-old has only scored one century since December 2020.
That droughtbreaking knock was his double century against South Africa at the Boxing Day Test last summer.
Ponting believes if Warner was considering retiring, the following Test at the SCG would have been the perfect time to bow out.
“I thought the absolute best time for Davey to retire, if he was thinking about it at all, was after the Sydney Test match here in Australia,” Ponting told the ICC Review podcast.
“He’d just played his 100th Test in Melbourne, and obviously got 200 in the first innings down there. And to bow out in front of his home crowd is obviously the way that every player would like to finish their careers.
“Who knows now that opportunity might not come around again for Davey, you know. That’s nearly another 12 months away.
“I’d love it if he could do that. I think it’d be fitting if he could do that, finish in front of his home crowd. But he’s going to have to play really well between now and then for that to happen.”
By wining the third Test over India, Australia booked their spot in June’s World Test Championship Final at The Oval.
Ponting believes Warner will get another crack at the top of order then and if all goes well, he will line up to face the likes of Stuart Broad and James Anderson in this year’s Ashes in England.
“I don’t think it’s the end of David Warner,” Ponting said.
“I think they’ll definitely want to play him in the World Test Championship match.
“I think they’ll bring him back for that one game and if he does well there he’ll probably start the Ashes and see where we go from there.
“They have got some really big decisions to make, leading into the Ashes as well. A bit like some of the selection issues they had coming to India.
“They’re probably going to have similar things to think about when they get to the UK because David’s record in the UK is not as strong as it is in some other places around the world.”
Ponting said Warner deserves to retire on his own terms, whenever that may be.
“I think his career deserves to finish the way he wants it to,” the former captain said.
“Sort of not to be dropped or tapped on the shoulder in the middle of an overseas tour and have his career end in that way. That’s why I just hope he can find it within himself to score a lot of runs between now and next summer.”
Travis Head has played well both as an opener and the middle order in India, but it’s unclear if he will be Warner’s long term successor.
“We’ll see where that lands in terms of the future but I see him (Head) as an incredible middle order player as well,” Australian coach Andrew McDonald said.
“He can shift the momentum of the game in the middle order and I don’t think we want to take that away from this team. I think he can get on the back of others’ work at the top of the order in different conditions.”