World Cup-winning skipper Ricky Ponting, cricket’s second-highest one-day scorer, vowed on Tuesday to fight on in Australia’s Test team despite being dumped from the limited-overs side.
Ponting said he had been informed by selectors that he did not fit into their plans for the one-day team. But despite speculation about his future, he stressed that he would not be retiring from the five-day game.
“I will continue playing Test cricket and I’ll continue playing for Tasmania as well,” Ponting told a news conference at the Sydney Cricket Ground. “I think I proved to everyone and myself that I am still capable of dominating Test cricket as I did in the last Test series against India.”
Ponting’s ODI sacking comes less than a month after his commanding role in Australia’s 4-0 clean sweep of the home Test series against India, when he scored 544 runs at 108.80 with two centuries and three 50s.
Sacked after good run of form
His dumping also came just a day after he led Australia to a crushing 110-run ODI win over India in Brisbane as stand-in captain for the injured Michael Clarke.
Chief selector John Inverarity said on Monday that Ponting had been dropped because of a lack of form after just 18 runs in five knocks in the tri-series against India and Sri Lanka.
“John made it very clear to me yesterday the direction they are heading with the one-day team and that I am not part of their plans, said Ponting. “I have no bitterness at all about what’s happened,” adding that “I totally understand” why the selectors were looking to rebuild the team for the next World Cup.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said Ponting would be remembered as possibly the nation’s best ever limited-overs player.
“I think his career is incomparable in one-day cricket,” he told reporters. “I just can’t think of a player that has made a greater contribution and been a better one-day cricketer, particularly in the big moments,” he added.
Former Test stars Matthew Hayden and Darren Lehmann both expressed disappointment at his demise.
Ex-opener Hayden tweeted: “Ricky Ponting’s omission from the national 1 Day side is an outrage!” while Lehmann called him “an absolute champion”.
The 37-year-old veteran of 375 ODIs spread over 17 years said even though he was no longer being considered for one-day selection, he would look to extend his 162-Test career in the West Indies in April.
Ponting backs himself
Ponting, who ranks second only to India’s Sachin Tendulkar with the most ODI runs (13 704), said he remained highly motivated.
“The passion for me in international cricket has not died or changed and I’ve made it clear right through this Australian summer that I still don’t see a finish line as far as my international career is concerned,” he said.
Ponting was defiant that he will finish his illustrious playing career on his own terms and not be discarded by selectors.
“I am backing myself to finish the game and finish on a high … I don’t want to finish on a low and I’ll make the right decision at the right time. There’s no doubt about that,” he said.
His big task now will be to adequately prepare himself for Test cricket, with international one-dayers no longer an option.
“The thing that I thought about most yesterday was how I was going to manage my time and to be well prepared for every Test match that I play for the remainder of my career,” he said.
“But there are those around Australia who only play Test cricket and I’ve seen it before with Steve Waugh, Mark Taylor and David Boon when they had retired from one-day cricket and still did well in Tests.” — AFP