Australia news March 30, 2011

Ponting vows to stay in the 'background'

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ricky Ponting has said that he will be "in the background" for Australia's new captain Michael Clarke, if he needs him, but he expects the Tests and ODI teams to be solely Clarke's domain. Ponting stepped down as Australia captain on Tuesday and Clarke was named his successor on Wedneday, but Ponting will play on, starting with April's one-day tour of Bangladesh.

Ponting wrote in his column in the Australian that he "will be one of many players who follow him [Clarke] on to cricket grounds all over the world". Ponting said he expected to adapt very quickly to his new role, and his focus was on "being the best player I can be, a great team-mate, an experienced leader around the group and a guy that my new captain can rely upon to give him something special".

The decision for Ponting to continue as a player has been the topic of much discussion, but Clarke laughed off any suggestions that Ponting would be "the elephant in the room". It is much more common in other countries for an ex-captain to play on but it has not been the trend in Australia in recent decades, with Kim Hughes the last man to resign as leader and keep playing.

Hughes does not believe Ponting's decision to keep playing Tests and ODIs will make things awkward for Clarke. "Michael and Ricky go back a fair way," Hughes told the Age, "and Michael will know that Ricky doesn't want to be captain again; Ricky becomes a senior player and I wouldn't be surprised if he seeks his advice along with the vice-captain.

''I think it is tremendous that he wants to be there, a credit to him and his commitment to Clarke and the Australian side."

The former captain Allan Border said Ponting's decision to bat on would help ease the transition as new players come into the team. ''In my mind he is still our best player and as such I believe he deserves to be picked,'' Border said on Fox Sports.

''Yes, you have to keep an eye on the future and all that but the burden of the captaincy in recent times may have been weighing heavily on his mind and giving away the captaincy might just free him up to play some of his best cricket over the next couple of years. He can be a fantastic mentor … and allow the new captain a bit more freedom to concentrate on his own game.''

Graham Yallop, who played on for almost five years under Greg Chappell and Hughes and played some of his finest innings in that period, also predicted a smooth transition. "My desire to keep playing, because I was only young, was uppermost in my mind so there were no hard feelings," Yallop said. " [Ponting's] desire to play on at the top level is a great credit to him because he doesn't have to, and he can assist Australian cricket for another two or three years.''

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  • Dummy4 on March 31, 2011, 13:16 GMT

    strange that some persist in believing ponting is arrogant.... i would call that a misunderstanding of his personality. he is straight forward and matter of fact, its not his cultural style to talk with flowery language... and he is also an optimist. those traits can be misinterpreted but they are not arrogance... he believed in his side, but also readily gave credit to others, and admitted his own failings... that's not arrogance... i guess being captain of a side that was dominant for some time attracts critics... e.g. the out of proportion criticism he attracted for a minor incident in which a tv was damaged by accident... let bygones be bygones

  • Dummy4 on March 31, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    It's funny how all of a sudden captaincy has begun being a burden on Ricky' batting. Until he first lost the Ashes, we were incessantly reminded how he effortlessly balanced both jobs and still dominated bowling attacks world over.

  • Cedric on March 31, 2011, 0:19 GMT

    Ponting wants a home farewell just like the others - McGrath, Gilly, Langer, Hayden, Waugh etc... So, I expect his retirement during the 2011/12 home summer against India if he wants to leave on a high.

  • Abubakar on March 30, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    I feel Ricky Ponting is paying off for his deeds and attitude which he showed during his tenure which was never accepted by many in the cricket world.

  • Dummy4 on March 30, 2011, 18:59 GMT

    omg.... don't tell me the new colour of the aussie team is pink??

  • alok on March 30, 2011, 18:39 GMT

    What a joke Clarke to lead. I think haddin would be better choice. I mean come on just because all these years you saw clarke as the succesor you promote him. but what ever chance he has had till now he's shown his ability to lead i.e he is soft, he is childish and etc etc fill in your own words. Being an Indian I never liked Ponting, he is way too arrogant, and before the ashes started i commented on cricinfo(although they never published it), those who live by the sword die by it. The way ponting leaded Australia in his prime, was not good, and the same way he goes. Believe in less than a year they(CA) will realise it was a wrong decision and they will replace Clarke by haddin. NB: Kindly publish my comment this time. it aint so hard this time

  • Srinivas on March 30, 2011, 18:27 GMT

    @Mac @davidpk i do not agree with you guys. May be it's unfamiliar seeing a ex-captain in an australian team. But, is there a replacement for the class and experience of ponting as of yet. I say no, punter still is one of the best batsman of the world. The burden of captaincy could explain his dip in the form and who knows this just might be the beginning of something special. CA owes him for what all he has done for the team. There are players who after relinquishing their captaincy played on for quite sometime.

  • Dummy4 on March 30, 2011, 18:13 GMT

    I think we will now see a revival of Ponting's batting.

  • Dummy4 on March 30, 2011, 17:56 GMT

    Punter is still the best batsman in the country, and one of the best in the world. Whose to know how much the weight of captaining a declining side impacted his batting? If he is keen to go on, he deserves the chance to prove he can still plunder other sides. He will still strike fear into the hearts of opponents when he strides out after the first three or four wickets have fallen.

  • Dummy4 on March 30, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    I think their is room for only one cricketing Grandpa in the Australian team as a kind of mentor for the younger guys to sit sit on his knee whilst he tells them stories of past glories when Australia dominated, and if ponting stays then either katich or hussey have to make way for some fresh blood. Bring on Paine, Khawaja and Sean Marsh before their best years are behind them.

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