Sydney, Mar 29: Australian Skipper Ricky Ponting has quit from his post in both the ODI and Test formats and will continue as a player under the new skipper. He made the announcement today (Mar 29) at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Announcing his decision to step down, Ponting informed that he will continue playing Tests and ODIs for Australia and hoped to be picked up for the upcoming tour of Bangladesh. He also informed that he is unlikely to be a member of the next Ashes series scheduled for 2012 and the 2015 World Cup as well.
After Ponting's decision, it is now widely expected that Cricket Australia will make an announcement later in the day and chose Michael Clarke as his successor.
Ponting 36, has led Australia in 77 Test matches for 48 wins, the most by any skipper ever. And of the 227 ODIs that he has led the Australian team, they have registered an incredible 163 wins, the most remarkable aspect of it being the two World Cup victories of 2003 and 2007.
However, despite all those achievements, his fortunes have floundered in recent times both with the bat and his leadership record. With the retirement of stalwarts like Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist, the Australians have been made to look like a bunch of ordinary mortals who can be beaten on any day. To worsen the matter, Ponting has been having a prolonged loss of batting form, which raised calls for his removal from the captain's post.
Now with the additional burden of captaincy removed, it remains to be seen if Ponting enjoys the sort of renaissance that his contemporary and fellow legends club-mate Sachin Tendulkar has done.
A fiercely determined leader, Ponting has been a major influence on the Australian team and is looked up to by every member of the squad. It now remains to be seen as to how long can the selectors persist with him in the squad, as his strong personality is considered by many to be a natural impediment for his successor as he might not be able to take decisions on his own lest it may offend Ponting.