Australian captain Michael Clarke has said that he will have a weird feeling walking onto Hobart's Blundstone Arena on Friday without Ricky Ponting when his side take on Sri Lanka in a Commonwealth Bank series match.
In an article for the Daily Telegraph, "Pup" Clarke described Ponting as an important fixture of Australian cricket from the time he was in school.
"It's going to be strange when I look around the field during our one-day match against Sri Lanka and can't see him there. We have played more than 200 one-day matches together and he has been such a big part of my cricketing life," Clarke said.
He, however, said that he was happy to hear that Ponting has decided to keep playing Test cricket.
"His (Ponting's) experience and knowledge of the game is a driving force in our quest to be ranked the number one Test nation again," Clarke writes.
He recalled that he played his first one-day international for Australia when Ponting opted to rest in Adelaide, and now believes that he may never have been given the opportunity to play one-day cricket for Australia had that decision not been taken.
Clarke said that his first World Cup when Australia went through undefeated with Ponting as captain has been the highlight of his one-day career.
"Statistics don't lie over a long period and no one in Australian cricket has come close to achieving what he (Ponting) has done. To be second in the world behind Sachin Tendulkar as the leading run-scorer in the one-day game is rare company," Clarke said.
Ponting was not only a great batsman, but one of the best fieldsmen in the world, Clarke said, adding that if Ponting could be dropped by the selectors, everyone in the Australian squad was on notice.
The message was simple, but loud and clear-perform or perish-said Clarke.