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Ponting puts stop to roller-coaster ride as captain

Last updated on: March 29, 2011 09:48 IST

'This is a decision wholly and solely from me'



Embattled Ricky Ponting on Tuesday stepped down as Australia's captain from the Test and one-day cricket teams in the wake of the team's shocking quarter-final exit from the ongoing World Cup, but will be available for selection as a batsman in both the formats.

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"I've had no tap on the shoulder from anyone. This is a decision wholly and solely from me. I thought the timing was spot on," Ponting said at a press conference in Sydney.

"All that being said, I've made it very clear to selectors that I'm available (to keep playing Test and one-day cricket for Australia)," he added.

Deputy Michael Clarke is expected to replace Ponting as skipper of the Australian Test and one-day teams.

Image: Ricky Ponting arrives for a news conference at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday
Photographs: Reuters

'I still have a lot to offer as a player and as a leader'

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The 36-year-old Tasmanian denied that he was forced to take the decision.

"I'll have the opportunity over the next couple of days to reflect on where things are headed for me and certainly what direction I feel things are heading for the betterment of Australian cricket," Ponting said.

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"I am very proud of what I've been able to do as a leader of the Australian cricket team and I have never ever taken any opportunity or any day for granted as the captain.

"It's a very prestigious job and one that comes with a lot of scrutiny and a lot of pressure but that is all part of being a leader in any walk of life," he said.

"I still think I have a lot to offer the team as a player and as a leader. With the changing face of the team in the past two years we have got a lot of young faces around the team. Every decision I've ever made was always with Cricket Australia's thoughts at the front of my mind -- it's always been about putting the team before me," he said.

Image: Ricky Ponting speaks to the media announcing his decision to step down as captain
Photographs: Getty Images
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'It's never been about how many runs I've scored or hundreds I've made'

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"It's been nice the last week especially to hear the endorsement from Cricket Australia and selectors about that position. But that's where the next few days are crucial for me. I have to really decide what I think is right for me and the team going forward," Ponting, nicknamed 'Punter', said.

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"I've still got a lot to offer the team as a player and leader. When I first came into the team, I was lucky to have had a lot of experienced guys around to learn what international cricket was about," he said.

The Tasmanian also said that he wanted to make it sure that young players like Phillip Hughes, Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja have experienced cricketers around them so that they can benefit from seniors.

"It's never been about how many runs I've scored or hundreds I've made. If I feel I can contribute with the bat, help the team win games of cricket and help young guys along the way, then I think I should still be playing," he added.

Image: Ricky Ponting reacts after completing his century against India
Photographs: Getty Images
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'He still has a year of two of good cricket left in him'

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Former Australian skipper Kim Hughes said Ponting may follow in the footsteps of Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar and improve as a player after relinquishing the captaincy.

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"I still feel that he possibly thinks he's got another year or two of good cricket left in him in either one-day or Test cricket and maybe without the burden of the captaincy that he can do justice to that," Hughes said.

Ponting held the Australian Test and one-day captaincy since he took over from Steve Waugh.

He led Australia in 77 Tests of which 48 were wins, the most for any captain. He also captained Australia in a record 228 ODIs and won 164, including two World Cups in 2003 and 2007.

Image: Ricky Ponting
Photographs: Getty Images
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