Australia’s cricket captain Ricky Ponting has been ruled out of next week’s fifth Ashes test against England due to a broken finger.
Ponting fractured the little finger in his left hand when he parried a catch to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin late on day three of the third Test in Perth, which Australia won by 267 runs. He played with the fracture in Melbourne’s Boxing Day test, which England won by an innings and 157 runs to retain the Ashes for the first time in 24 years.
“Ricky Ponting had a repeat x-ray after the fourth Test which showed evidence that the fracture of his fifth finger has moved during the course of the Melbourne Test,” team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said in an e-mailed statement.
Treatment options include surgery or splinting and immobilization, the statement said. Ponting, 36, is expected to resume training in the latter part of Australia’s summer and be fully fit for the International Cricket Council’s World Cup next year.
Australia last week put batsman Usman Khawaja on standby for the fourth Ashes Test as backup in case Ponting didn’t play. Khawaja, a Pakistan-born left-hander, is the top run scorer in Australia’s Sheffield Shield interstate competition this season.
The Australian squad for the fifth Ashes Test which starts in Sydney on Jan. 3 will be announced this afternoon. Ponting and Michael Clarke, Australia’s vice captain, have struggled for runs in the series, which England leads 2-1.