Ponting quits as captain, wants Clarke to succeed him

March 29th, 2011 - 3:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, March 29 (IANS) Ricky Ponting Tuesday quit as captain of the Australian cricket team, but expressed a desire to continue playing international cricket.

Ponting, 36, made the announcement at a news conference in the wake of his team’s failure to defend the World Cup they won the last three times and his leading Australia to a third Ashes series defeat this summer.

Ponting said Australia’s defeat at the hands of India in the World Cup quarter-final was the catalyst for his decision.

Ponting made it clear that he would like to continue playing both Tests and One-Day Internationals (ODI), and strongly felt that his deputy Michael Clarke is the right man to succeed him as cpatain.

“I’ve made it very clear to the selectors that I’m still available for selection in both forms of the game,” he said.

“I think I’ve still got a lot to offer in terms of a player and also a leader.”

Ponting said he made the decision to step down late Monday night after discussing it with his family in the last two days.

“Today I’ve decided to stand down as captain of the Test team and the one-day team, as of now, and I felt that the timing was absolutely perfect.”

“He’s (Michael Clarke) certainly growing into those leadership roles every day. I certainly would endorse Michael Clarke as captain.”

“I had a chat with Michael this morning. I think he was quite surprised by my decision. He’s probably reasonably excited by what I’m announcing today.”

Ponting has been the most successful captain, winning 48 of the 77 Tests he captained, losing 16 and drawing 13.

As ODI captain in 227 matches, he won 163 and lost 50. The impressive record includes two World Cup victories.

Ponting said his replacement would have his full support.

“I’m a big boy and I know when it’s my time and when it’s my place,” he said.

“I’m around for advice if needed.”

Cricket Australia (CA) said it would decide on Ponting’s successor in the next couple of days.

CA chairman Jack Clarke was all praise for Ponting’s leadership.

“Ricky Ponting has been an outstanding batsman, one of the best to wear the baggy green,” Clarke said in a statement.

“His leadership as captain has been outstanding and I sometimes think his brilliance with the bat has overshadowed his fine work as captain.”

“Those close to the team know his true worth in guiding his players and setting a personal example of commensurate professionalism, particularly in recent years following the retirement of so many greats of the game,” Clarke said.

Ponting, who has 12,363 Test runs at an average of 53.52, said there was no pressure from anyone for him to quit and did not rule out an Ashes swansong in England provided he is picked.

“I’ve had no tap on the shoulder from anybody,” he said.

“I think the fact that I’m not captain…I’ll be able to bat better than I have in the last six months.”

Asked whether a drop down the batting order was a possibility, Ponting said he still believed No.3 was his best position.

He has also scored more than 13,000 one-day runs, including 29 centuries.

Typically, his responce to criticism was to hit a hundred in his last match as captain, though it was not enough to win the World Cup quarter-final.

What really has upset him is his Ashes record as captain. He lost two Ashes series in England, and one at home.

When he was asked whether he would be remembered most as the man who lost three Ashes series, he smiled ruefully.

“You’re probably right there. There are a few people out there that will look at me in that light. I’d like to think that through my playing time I’ve achieved a lot more than that though, whether that’s been as a player or as a captain of this side.”

“It’s funny how we talk about losing the Ashes three times. Playing in three World Cup winning teams never comes up very often. Winning 16 consecutive Test matches doesn’t come up very often. Winning 30-odd consecutive World Cup games doesn’t come up very often,” Ponting said.

“But that’s the world we live in. I know within myself and my teammates know and everyone at Cricket Australia knows what I have been able to achieve in the game and that’s what I’m very proud of.”

– Indo-Asian News Service
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