ADELAIDE - Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting admits he's now at the mercy of selectors and the end could be near, but remained defiant he will play until he's tapped on the shoulder, rather than step aside himself.
After three consecutive failures to start the Test series against South Africa, Ponting said he was a ``realist'' and won't see out the rest of the summer, let alone make it to next year's Ashes, unless he can turn things around.
And that's assuming he gets another chance to do so in the third Test in Perth.
The 37-year-old says he is yet to have a conversation with national selectors about where he stands, but anticipates that chat won't be very far away after scoring nought, four and 16 in the first two Tests.
``I'm a realist. I live in the real world and I know that if I'm not getting runs there's no chance at all (of playing the Ashes),'' Australia's highest ever run-scorer said yesterday.
``I might not make the summer out so (if that happens) I definitely won't be in England.
``But we'll wait and see what happens at the end of the game.
``I've got no illusions or disillusions about where I'm at or where my cricket's at.
``I haven't spoken to the selectors anything about my immediate future and they haven't spoken to me about it either. I'm sure that conversation is going to come probably, and in the near future but nothing has happened just yet.''
Ponting said he was being too tentative with his batting at the moment and his disappointment was heightened by the strong Sheffield Shield form he carried into the summer.
It's likely he'll retain his place for the third Test in Perth, but from there his future is very much up in the air.
Last summer Ponting saved his career with two centuries against India in Sydney and Adelaide.
Ponting knows he'll need to pull something similar out of the hat.
``If I score runs I'll get myself selected. If I don't then I leave the door open for someone else to come in in my spot,'' he said.
``That's the way it sits at the moment so we'll wait and see what happens at the end of the game.''