Melbourne: Ricky Ponting has received support from former India captain Sourav Ganguly who feels that the veteran Australian should be given a longer lease of life as he can help in grooming younger players in the team.
"The likes of Ponting and Hussey should be given the chance to breathe a bit easily so they can create an atmosphere to help young players develop. Don't forget Ponting and Hussey are watched closely by the likes of David Warner, Ed Cowan, Shaun Marsh in the dressing room," Ganguly said.
"For Australian cricket, it's about the present and the veterans can help this team perform better. They need only look at the Indian examples of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar for proof," Ganguly wrote in a column for Sydney Morning Herald.
Ganguly said Ponting and Hussey still have something to offer to Australian cricket which is in transitional phase.
"I am a firm believer that if you know how to produce champions, you must also know how to look after them. It is important to get the best out of ageing greats and Australian selectors have to find a way to do so. Show some faith in the big names. Class doesn't just go vanish," he said.
Older players like Tendulkar inspire Ponting
"They have succeeded for so long and after watching them bat in this Test (against India) I am sure they still have a lot to offer," said Ganguly, who is here as a commentator for the first Test between India and Australia.
He said the current Australian team has few senior players to guide the youngsters coming into the side and the likes of Ponting can be an asset in the team.
"Australian cricket has a history of slowly letting its ageing players go and bringing in young players. But ... there are not that many of the these senior figures around the team.
"That is why it is even more important that the careers of Ponting and Hussey are handled carefully as they head towards their close. It is not good to have young players coming into a side that is losing. They are joining a team when their is a negative atmosphere, which could affect their faith and belief in the cause and could hurt them mentally at an early stage in their careers."