Melbourne: Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting has revealed that the Australian cricket summer has been the most challenging seasons of his career.
In his most revealing interview of the summer, Ponting spoke about the generational change his team is facing, the workload on the game's stars and his confidence for the away series against South Africa and the Ashes.
He also broke his silence on the Michael Clarke-Simon Katich dust-up, his hopes for Andrew Symonds and his ambition to stay on as captain long-term.
You keep the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, but do you feel you won the series after a wash-out? I don't think you ever do. You always want to win a game. The thing we pride ourselves on is trying to win every game and Friday night was a strange feeling. New Zealand probably had their noses in front when the game was called off. It's been a challenging year, going back to the start of the Indian tour. Things went pretty well for us in West Indies, although we probably had to work a bit harder over there than we have in the past," Fox Sports quoted Ponting, as saying.
When asked what is the future for one-day cricket and Twenty20?, he said: “I think both will survive. We are playing more and more Twenty20. It seems like the fans want to see it and the players have taken the game on board in the last 12 months since there is now a world championship to play for. When we first started playing it, I thought the game was going to be one that would be used almost as a marketing tool ... but it has grown into something bigger than that."
He also rejected the suggestion that there is too much cricket being played.
“I don't think there is too much; it has been a busy year for us, particularly our Australian summer. The thing now is we are fully professional cricketers and if that is all you are expected to do, then that''s the challenge you face," Ponting said.
He also said that he was never in favour of being rested during the Chappell-Hadlee one-day series against New Zealand.
“No - that's why I came back. I was rested when we were 1-0 down, when we went 2-0 down I was on the phone to my manager at eight o''clock that morning and I spoke to him at length about what we should do and I spoke to the coach (Tim Nielsen) and the chairman of selectors and Michael Clarke, who had captained the team the night before. I told him what I was thinking and before you knew it I was back leading my country," Ponting said.
“I have cherished every day in the job. I say to myself, there are only just over 400 players who have represented Australia and there has only been 42 guys who have had the chance to be captain. It probably is one of the highest honours in Australian sport. The one thing I know is, it won''t last forever," Ponting said.
He also said that he would continue playing as long as he thought he was making a worthy contribution to the team and as a captain.