Ricky Ponting is confident Australia can retain their ranking as the top Test side in the future after winning the ICC Test Championship for the fourth year in a row. However, despite last year's World Cup win, Ponting's men could not secure the double as South Africa prevailed in the ICC ODI Championship, finishing a fraction of a point ahead of Australia.
India, who were 30 points behind Australia, were the runners up in the Test list and Ponting believes they will be one of the sides that can threaten his team in the next year. He said Australia's future prospects depended largely on the younger members of the team continuing to improve after making excellent progress during 2007 and 2008.
"If they can do that and the older guys like me, Matty Hayden and the other guys keep pulling our weight we can hopefully remain No. 1," Ponting told Reuters after collecting the trophy, the ICC Mace, in Mumbai. "There were a lot of question marks around the team at the start of the last Australian summer, losing the ... great players that we lost. But I thought some of the younger guys who came into the side like Phil Jaques and Mitchell Johnson handled themselves really well at the international level.
"India certainly have a great team together at the moment and South Africa have played excellent cricket for a number of years in both forms of the game. So we just have to wait and see."
The winning teams of the Test and ODI championships each collected US$175,000, while the runners up pocketed $75,000 - small change for some of the men who are about to play in the Indian Premier League. South Africa's former captain Shaun Pollock picked up the ODI trophy, the ICC Shield, on behalf of his team-mates, and he said it was especially pleasing to finish ahead of the World Cup winners.
"Australia is the benchmark in all forms of the game and especially one-day cricket," Pollock said. "So for South Africa to take over the top spot in the one-day table is a huge achievement for the playing group as well as a great honour for everyone connected with South Africa cricket."
Gary Kirsten, India's coach, said: "It has been a tough 12 months for us as a Test team but the fact we have risen to many of the challenges put before us is reflected in our second position. We now have to press on and try and close the gap to Australia as well as stay ahead of the sides below us."