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Ponting resigns as Australian Test, ODI captain but will continue playing as batsman


March 29, 2011 - Sydney

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has announced to step down from captaincy of both Australia Test and one-day cricket sides with immediate effect, but has expressed his willingness to continue playing for his country.

"I've had the chance to think long and hard about it... I have decided to stand down from the test and one-day team as of now," Fox Sports quoted Ponting, as saying at a press conference at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

He said the main reason behind this decision was that he thought "it's the right time."

"Getting through the Ashes series the way that we did and with the World Cup now being over, I wanted to make sure I give the next captain every opportunity I possibly could to make sure he as as much experience going forward," he said.

"I felt it was an opportune time ... and the timing was spot on," he added.

Despite standing down, Ponting declared that he would still like to play on under the leadership of another captain, and said that he is available for selection for the tour to Bangladesh if the selectors pick him.

"I made it very clear to the selction I am available for both forms of the game so hopefully they'll pick me and I'll be on a plane to Bangladesh in the next few days... I am keen to stay around and play a little bit longer," he said.

"With the team as it is at the moment, I think I have a lot to offer as a leader for the younger players if and when required," he added.

Ponting, who captained Australia in 77 Test matches for 48 wins, also said that he wants to give the next captain his "full and total support", and that he will be "sitting in the corner of the dressing room just like everbody else."

Ponting has been under pressure to step down since Australia's disastrous Ashes campaign last summer, which saw the Aussies relinquish the urn for the third time under Ponting's leadership.

His poor form as a batsman has also been in the spotlight, and though he broke his long century drought with a gritty hundred in Australia's World Cup quarter-final match against India last week, the title defenders lost the game to MS Dhoni's men.

ANI

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