ADELAIDE Ricky Ponting has said there are no guarantees he will be selected for the third and final test against South Africa in Perth, let alone play out the Australian summer after a run of three consecutive failures with the bat against the Proteas.
Ponting has scored a duck, four and 16 in the current test series, and a solitary half-century in his past nine innings, sparking calls for the 37-year-old to give up his place to groom a younger successor.
The former Australia captain had not had a conversation with selectors but said he expected one in the "near future".
"The disappointing thing for me is with the start of this test series, coming in I felt in really good touch," Ponting said in a television interview with Channel Nine at Adelaide Oval.
"My (Sheffield) Shield stuff early season was really good and I actually felt like I was batting better than I have in a few years.
"And I said coming into the summer that it really is a game-by-game thing with me now. I can't afford to look any further forward.
"I've got to get my head down, I've got to score runs. And if I score runs then I'll get myself selected, and if I don't, then I leave the door open for someone else to come in my spot.
"That's the way it sits at the moment. We'll wait and see how it sits at the end of the game."
The manner of Ponting's dismissals have been seen as a player struggling with both technique and confidence.
Ponting was out caught behind for nought in the drawn first test in Brisbane chasing a ball well outside his off-stump and was bowled in the first innings in Adelaide, falling to the crease after making a mess of his footwork.
He then chopped the ball onto his stumps in the second innings on Saturday after being welcomed to the crease with a warm ovation at Adelaide Oval.
"Yesterday was probably a ball that I shouldn't get bowled on - back of a length and short.
"How do I feel form-wise? Probably if anything I've been a little bit tentative.
"Certainly in the first innings in Brisbane it was a tentative shot. Yesterday afternoon it was a tentative shot. And that's not the normal way that I play.
"I probably just needed to be a bit more positive and get through that way."
Australia's selectors have a number of youthful options that could be considered for the third test, and the three-test home series against Sri Lanka.
Two players with test experience have been in solid domestic form, with Pakistan-born Usman Khawaja and Phillip Hughes making recent centuries for their states in the Sheffield Shield competition.
Ponting said he was a "realist" about the goal of playing the Ashes series against England next year.
"I live in the real world and I know that if I'm not getting runs there's no chance at all," he said.
"I might not make the summer out, so I definitely won't be in England. But, we'll wait and see what happens at the end of this game.
"Hopefully getting a good win here and we'll see how we go for Perth.
"That's really all it is. I've got no illusions or disillusions about where I'm at or where my cricket is at.
"It's just a matter or working hard, and then hopefully when I do have a chance to bat in the middle I'm a bit more assertive than I have been in the last couple of games."
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)