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Ponting quashes talk of county stint

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Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting enjoyed a stint at Somerset in 2004, but has moved to end speculation linking him with a return to county cricket this summer

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has ruled out a move to county cricket this season.

The 37-year-old had been strongly linked with Somerset - who he previously played for in 2004 - after director of cricket Brian Rose said earlier this week it was an option he would like to explore.

Ponting, who no longer features in Australia's limited-overs squads, is set to be without first-class cricket for five months after the upcoming Test tour of West Indies, with reports suggesting he would use a county stint to press his Ashes claims for next year.

But Ponting has ended such speculation after revealing he wants to remain in Australia.

“It [county cricket] doesn't really fit into what I'm looking at doing,” Ponting said.

“I'm looking forward to having a bit more time pre-season with the Tasmanian Tigers this year back in Hobart and spending a bit of time with the family so county cricket is probably out of the question."

Ponting is currently preparing to join Australia’s tour of the West Indies for the three-Test series.

After skippering Tasmania to defeat in the Sheffield Shield final earlier this week, the Test tour will be his last first-class action until next the Australian summer schedule begins in October.

But he said he would prefer to spend that time with his family after reinvigorating his Test career during the Australian summer.

His place had come under intense scrutiny, but, after ending a two-year wait for a Test century against India, he finished the Australian summer by making 221 in Adelaide to revive the possibility of one last Ashes tour next year.

“I've got to look at what my best preparation is, post the West Indies, and that will probably be to have a couple of months off,” he said.

“It's been a hard 12 months for me personally and around my cricket. With things not going as smoothly as I wanted at the start of the year, I had to train harder and work harder on my game and think more about my game than ever before.

“It's taken its toll a little bit, so I need to have a chance to refresh and recharge my batteries and get a solid pre-season under my belt before the Australian summer.”

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