Australia have named uncapped New South Wales batsman Usman Khawaja as a standby player for the fourth Ashes Test match which begins in Melbourne on 26th December, in case skipper Ricky fails to recover from a fractured finger in time.
Ponting was injured, when he parried a catch from second slip to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin to dismiss England's Jonathan Trott late on day three of the third Test in Perth.
Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of the national selection panel was upbeat about Ponting’s recovery.
“While the NSP are confident Ricky Ponting will be available for the Boxing Day Test, through an abundance of caution we have named Usman Khawaja as the standby player," he said.
"Usman richly deserves this opportunity following his excellent form at domestic level last season and continuing on this season,” he added.
The uncapped Khawaja has been in sublime form in this season’s Sheffield Shield, leading the run-scoring charts with 598 at an average of 74.75 and toured England this summer as part of Australia's squad to play Pakistan.
The Pakistan born left-hander will join the Australian squad when it gathers in Melbourne tomorrow night.
© Cricket World 2010