New Delhi, Dec 8: At a time when calls are getting louder for out-of-form Ricky Ponting's ouster from the national team, senior India batsman Rahul Dravid feels that the former Australian captain is still one of the most feared batsman in the world.
Ponting is going through a prolonged lean patch and hasn't scored a century for nearly two years with a below-par average of 28.74, forcing his detractors to call for his head.
But Dravid, who went through similar phase in his career, could sympathise with Ponting's present situation. He backed the Australian to fire again but hoped he does not choose the upcoming home Test series against India as the platform to regain his form.
"I have been through all that myself, and can easily relate to him. I was watching those Test matches (in South Africa) and was in some way hoping that he would score runs. I hoped he would score runs in this next Test match and then take a bit of a break against us," Dravid said.
"I think he is still a great player. He showed in the couple of Test matches that he played against us in India that he is still -- I'd say he is still -- the best Australian batsman. And when you read his name on the sheet he is still one of the most feared. There is no doubt about it.
"From our perspective I hope he can start a golden run after our series," Dravid said before departing for Australia.
Dravid is one of the seven members of the Indian Test squad which left for Australia early, in order to get acclimatised to the conditions better.
Recalling his period of struggle, Dravid said, "Sometimes it is a confidence thing. Sometimes things don't go for you. You get a bit of a bad run, you get a couple of good balls, and then you lose a bit of confidence. Maybe your mindset changes."