Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting says struggling England opener Alastair Cook is a “champion player” and deserves to retire on his own terms.
The 32-year-old Cook, who is England highest ever run-scorer in Test cricket with more 11 600 runs, again failed with the bat in the second innings of the third Ashes Test as he was caught behind for just 14 on Sunday.
The left-hander, who is playing in his 150th Test, has now failed to reach fifty in his last 10 Test innings with pressure mounting on the England management to make a call in his future.
Ponting, who played a record 168 Tests for the Aussies, does not want to see Cook dropped after the third Ashes Test though.
In an article published on Cricket Australia’s website, Ponting said: “He deserves to be able to finish on his terms.
“One of England’s greatest ever players and one of the world’s greatest ever players. You’d think what he’s done as a player; 150 games and nearly 12,000 runs and an average of 45 as an opener, it’s a pretty amazing record.
“Hopefully it doesn’t come to the point where he’s dropped mid-Ashes. But, talking to a couple of English journos there will be mounting pressure on him now, especially after the way he was dismissed again today.
“There’s obviously some demons going around in his head but I’ve always said it in this game you never write off champion players and he’s certainly been a champion player.”
England are already 2-0 down in the five-match Ashes series and face the prospect of being whitewashed just as they were under Cook’s leadership four years ago.