Ponting says he was reluctant to take a break

February 3rd, 2009 - 7:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Feb 3 (IANS) Australian captain Ricky Ponting has admitted that he wanted to lead the team at a time when they are going downhill, but was forced to take a break under instruction from the selectors.Ponting was rested from at least the next two games of the Chappell-Hadlee series against New Zealand with an eye to the gruelling international schedule before Australia.

The selectors took the decision despite the fact that team would sorely miss Ponting.

Australia have lost four One-dayers on the trot when they went down to New Zealand in the series opener.

The last time they experienced such a bad run was between Feb 9-20 in 2007 when they lost five games in a row.

Ponting said he wanted to continue to lead the team from the front in this transitional period.

“There is never a good time to be rested from the Australian side and I accept that this certainly is not a good time,” Ponting was quoted as saying in The Australian.

“But I can see that the long-term interests of my health and the team are best served if I am fit and rested before embarking on another long year of cricket,” he said.

“The selection panel were determined to rest me, no matter what. There had been suggestions I have a break earlier, but I did not think there was ever an appropriate opportunity and I am not sure there ever will be a good time to do it,” Ponting said.

“The fact that I am leaving the side when we are one-nil down in the series against New Zealand is painful for me, but I have to accept the selectors’ decision.”

Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch also backed the captain, claiming that he had wanted to play on.

“Naturally, as Australian captain, Ricky is keen to play every game and these next two games were no exception,” he said.

“However, it was always planned that Ricky would have a break at this time. While this is a difficult decision for the national selection panel, given the current performance of the team, in our view it is essential that Ricky has an opportunity to prepare for the forthcoming South Africa tour given his immense workload since the start of the India tour in late September.”

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