Bloomberg News

Ponting to Play On in Test Cricket, Says One-Day Career Over

February 21, 2012

(Adds bookmakers’ comment in 12th paragraph.)

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Ricky Ponting, Australia’s record run-scorer and most-successful cricket captain, said he wants to continue playing elite Tests a day after being dropped from the one-day squad.

A regular in the national team since making his debut in 1995, the three-time World Cup winner said that although he doesn’t fit into the selectors’ plans for the shortened format, he’ll remain available for five-day matches.

“Now that international one-day cricket’s not there, what I have left is Test match cricket and I’ll make sure that I’m as well-prepared as possible to play every game,” Ponting, 37, said at a news conference at the Sydney Cricket Ground. “I’m still firmly of the belief that I’ve got a lot to offer any team I play in.”

Selectors dumped Ponting from the one-day squad yesterday after his worst batting slump in the format, where he scored 18 runs in five innings. That followed the third-most prolific Test series of his career, during which he amassed 544 runs in a four-match series against India that concluded Jan. 28.

It was the first time Ponting had gone five straight innings without reaching double figures in 375 one-day games for Australia. His omission came even after he stood in as captain for the injured Michael Clarke in the past two matches. Ponting said he’d been given no indication by the selectors that he was about to lose his place in the team, adding that he wasn’t officially retiring from one-day internationals.

“It’s a little bit hard to come here and say I’m retiring when I’ve already been left out of the side,” he said. “I don’t expect to play one-day international cricket for Australia anymore.”

Test Target

Australia is scheduled to play three Tests against the West Indies in April. It then hosts South Africa and Sri Lanka starting in November before tours to India and England in 2013.

James Sutherland, Cricket Australia’s chief executive officer, told reporters that Ponting would be an automatic pick for the Caribbean tour.

“I don’t think there’s any question about his selection for the West Indies,” Sutherland said at the SCG. “You just need to look at the summer he’s had in Test cricket.”

Ponting said he’d taken a lot of satisfaction from his performances against India over the past two months, which included a drought-breaking century and double hundred.

‘Proved to Myself’

“I proved to myself and I proved to my teammates that I can still win games for Australia,” he said.

While his one-day exit will give him more time to focus on Tests, he’s an outside chance to tour England next year, according to sportsbet.com.au. The on-line bookmaker rates Ponting a 1-2 chance to not play another Ashes Test, meaning a successful $1 bet returns a profit of 50 cents.

“With his dismissal from the one-day side the writing might be on the wall that the selectors want to go in another direction,” said Sportsbet.com.au spokesman Shaun Anderson.

Ponting began playing for the Tasmania state team as a 17- year-old and made his national debut in a one-day match against South Africa in 1995 at age 20.

As well as scoring an Australian-record 13,200 Test and 13,704 one-day runs, Ponting has the second-most career catches by a non-wicketkeeper in both formats with 193 and 160.

His Test run tally puts him third behind India’s Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid on the all-time list. Only Tendulkar has scored more career runs in the 50-over format. His total of 71 centuries in both formats is second to Tendulkar’s 99.

World Cup Wins

He won 48 of 77 Tests, more than any other skipper in 135 years of elite cricket, and also captained Australia to the 2003 and 2007 World Cup titles. He featured in four finals at the four-yearly championship, winning three.

“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,” Sutherland said.

The winner in more Tests and one-day games than any other international player and captain, Ponting stood down from the role for both formats 11 months ago following the team’s quarterfinal exit at the 2011 World Cup.

After surviving calls for his axing from the Test team last year, the right-hander averaged 108.8 in the series against India, hitting 221 and 60 not out in the final match in Adelaide. He followed that with scores of 2, 1, 6, 2 and 7 in Australia’s first five games of the three-nation one-day series.

Ponting said while his performances hadn’t warranted a spot in the one-day team, his desire to extend his 162-Test career hadn’t wavered.

“The passion for the international game of cricket for me has not died or changed one little bit,” he said. “I’ve made it very clear right through the Australian summer that I still don’t see a finish line as far as my international career is concerned.”

--Editors: Garfield Reynolds, Malcolm Scott

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Sydney at dbaynes@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net


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