Ponting looks four years ahead
Australia captain Ricky Ponting retired from Twenty20 international cricket to enhance his bid to make the 2013 Ashes.
Ponting came to his decision during a fortnight break from the tour of England - he returns tomorrow - with one last crack at a Test series over here at the forefront of his mind.
Twice Ponting has overseen Ashes defeats on English soil and he maintains a determination to address the statistic. He is the only Australia captain to twice relinquish the Ashes from his possession.
Upon departing for some time off with his family Down Under, he first referenced his desire to participate once more even though he will be 38, and today reaffirmed: “I was serious about it at the time.
“Having returned from England with the taste in my mouth that I had, I was very keen to be able to try and give it every possible crack to be back there again.
“This decision now is certainly part of giving myself the best chance to achieve that.
“As long as I’m playing well, and as long as I’m enjoying the game, then I’ve never put a limit on how long I can play the game for.
“I’m really passionate and committed to being the best player that I can be for Australia for as long as possible.
“Over the last couple of years I’ve found it increasing difficult to play all three forms of the game at the level that I want to play them.
“Looking at international Twenty20 cricket, I’ve looked at the program for the next couple of years.
"In the next 12 months alone, I’ve looked at having probably an extra four weeks off which will give me an opportunity to get away and just make sure that I’m ready to go for both the Test matches and the one-day cricket we have in that period.
“You look at even how I started this latest Ashes series, going in nice and fresh and making a hundred in the first game and almost going downhill during the series. I want to make sure that doesn’t occur for the rest of my career.
“I want to be as fresh as I possibly can for every one-day game or Test I play for the rest of my career and I think having the extra few weeks at home will give me a better chance to do that.”
With Michael Clarke at the helm in Ponting’s absence, Australia have opened up a 2-0 lead in the NatWest Series.
Ponting will not be considered for the third match of seven at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday, hours after his long-haul trek, so will return to lead his country at Lord’s on Saturday.
The schedule for both England and Australia means they head off to the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa the day after this current limited-overs campaign concludes at the Riverside a week on Sunday.
Ponting remains intent on continuing Twenty20 cricket with Indian Premier League outfit Kolkata Knight Riders and home state Tasmania over the next 12 months.
“I still have one year remaining on my Knight Riders contract which I’m very committed to,” said Ponting. “I stepped away from that last year to make sure I could be as ready as I could be for the Ashes.
“Looking forward to next year it looks like the Australian players will be available for the last four or five games of the IPL.”