A realistic Ricky Ponting expects to discuss his future with the selectors after the Adelaide Test, and conceded his career could be over by the end of the summer
Ponting, who is due to equal Steve Waugh's record of 168 Tests in the next Test in Perth, has been bowled in both innings of the second Test against South Africa, for four and 16, after scoring a duck in the series opener in Brisbane.
There are growing concerns about the 37-year-old's reflexes when facing fast bowling, after he chopped a ball from Dale Steyn onto his stumps on Saturday.
"I haven't spoken to the selectors anything about my immediate future," Ponting told Channel Nine. "I'm sure that conversation is going to come in the near future but nothing has happened just yet. The disappointing thing for me about the start of this Test series is I have felt in really good touch, my (Sheffield) Shield stuff early season has been really good and I actually felt I was batting better than I had in a few years... I said going into the summer that it really is a game by game thing for me. I can't afford to look any further forward, I've got to keep my head down and score runs. If I score runs then I will get myself selected. If I don't I will leave the door open for someone else to come in my spot. That's where it sits at the moment and we'll wait and see what happens at the end of the game."
With Shane Watson due back from injury in Perth the selectors might be loath to make two changes to the top order for the third Test, but Ponting acknowledged his credits are running out.
The subsequent Test, against Sri Lanka, will be played in the former captain's home state of Tasmania, raising speculation about a home farewell.
He said his dream of competing in next year's Ashes would be dashed if he doesn't make runs soon.
"I'm a realist. I live in the real world and I know if I'm not getting runs I might not make the summer out and I definitely won't be in England, but we will wait and see what happens at the end of this game. I'm looking forward to the boys playing well this morning and hopefully getting a good win here and we'll see how we go for Perth," Ponting said.
"That is really all it is. I've got no illusions or disillusions about where my cricket's at. It's just a matter of working hard and hopefully when I get a chance to bat in the middle I'm a bit more assertive than I have been in the last couple of games.
"Yesterday's was probably a ball I shouldn't get bowled on. It was back of a length and short and ended up getting chopped onto the stumps, but the first innings I got a pretty good ball. How did I feel form wise? Probably if anything I have been a bit tentative, certainly in the first innings in Brisbane [when he reached outside off stump and edged Morne Morkel] was a tentative shot and yesterday afternoon was a tentative shot. It's not the normal way I play.
"It was a tough situation yesterday as well when the ball was starting to reverse swing and there were six overs to go in the day. I probably needed to be a bit more positive."
Meantime, injured fast bowler James Pattinson is expected to bat as Australia tries to build a match-winning lead in Adelaide, but is highly unlikely to bowl with a side strain. .
"He was in a fair bit of pain. I spoke to him after the first over he bowled and he could hardly breath so he is in a fair bit of trouble," Ponting said.