Australian legend Ricky Ponting has outlined just how tough life may become for the cricket team over the coming years, pleading for encouragement for young cricketers.
Australia's heavy loss to South Africa in Perth, losing the series 1-0 after almost winning the second Test in Adelaide, has been a serious wake-up call, as they have now been pushed further back in third place behind the Proteas and England.
And after a three-Test series against Sri Lanka, beginning in Hobart on Friday week, Australia faces tough tours of India and England next year, News.com.au reports.
"Some of the young guys might need a little bit of patting on the back every now and then and given a bit of a push along because it's a pretty hard thing we do," Ponting said during his farewell press conference.
According to the report, it highlights that as well as Australia has played since Michael Clarke became captain little more than a year ago, more than half the side has only known him as the skipper.
And there will be a fundamental change for the Sri Lanka series, when the batting order has to be reworked following the inevitable retirement of Ponting, the report said.
The most likely replacement is another recall for Phil Hughes, who is the leading Sheffield Shield run scorer this season, but he is no guarantee, with the selectors meeting later this week, it added.
Whoever it is Australia must build a stable and consistent batting line-up if it is to have any hope of challenging in India and England, the report concluded. (ANI)