Warne better join row for Test captaincy: Ponting

Published: Sunday, October 23, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Ricky Ponting has defiantly told would-be suitors to his Australian Test cricket captaincy that he's staying put and not going anywhere.

Ponting, who along with team coach John Buchanan received most of the fall-out from Australia's relinquishing of the Ashes to England last month, says he is running the show and intends to remain captain.

Ponting has denied champion leg-spinner Shane Warne virtually ran the team in England, and responded to calls for Warne to become Test captain following the loss of the Ashes.

"There was only one person in charge on the field and that was me," Ponting wrote in his soon-to-be-released book, Ashes Diary 2005.

"If he does still have captaincy aspirations he had better join the queue, because I am not planning on going anywhere just yet."

Ponting predicts that Warne, who retired from international limited-overs cricket after failing a drugs test before the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, might be back for the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

"I would not rule out the idea of him coming back into the one-day side for the 2007 World Cup," he writes.

"The trouble is that I do not think he will make himself available unless he gets an assurance from the selectors that they will pick him.

"He will not want to go to the trouble and possible embarrassment of announcing his availability only to be overlooked."

Ponting also admitted in his new book that he initially wanted Andrew Symonds sent home after a late-night drinking binge forced him out the one-day match against Bangladesh in Cardiff last June.

Bangladesh stunned the cricket world when they beat the Australians by five wickets, winning only their 10th win in 108 one-day internationals at the time.

Ponting described the defeat as dreadful and embarrassing, and all-rounder Symonds' behaviour as unacceptable after it became clear during the warm-ups that he was intoxicated.

Ponting and vice-captain Adam Gilchrist saw Symonds hit the ground and suspected he was drunk.

"When Gilchrist and I got to Symonds I did not beat around the bush," Ponting writes. "His eyes looked puffy and I could smell alcohol on his breath. 'Were you out late last night having a drink?' I said.

"'Yes,' he replied. 'What time did you get back?' I responded. 'About 1.30, I think.'

"Given the state he was in eight hours after that, I found his claim hard to believe. My blood was beginning to boil. I did not shout, but let Symonds know exactly what I thought about his behaviour."

Ponting told Symonds he would not be in the team to play Bangladesh.

"'Right,' was his response," writes Ponting. "But he said it in such a casual 'see-if-I-care' way that it wound me up even more. 'Don't encourage me,' I said.

"I was furious at a player being so disrespectful to himself, his teammates, his opponents and his country by turning up to play a game in that state, and I blurted out, 'He can go home then!' to Gilchrist before heading off to speak to (coach) John Buchanan."

But rather than apologise to the coach at training, Symonds told him: "I've played when I've been like this before.

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