Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting picked up his domestic cricketer of the year award on Wednesday, and quickly batted away speculation about a return to the beleaguered test team for the Ashes.
The 38-year-old Ponting, who retired from international cricket last November, led
the Sheffield Shield with 875 runs at an average of 87.50, including an unbeaten 200 in a recent match. Tasmania will host the first-class final beginning Friday against Queensland.
"International cricket has long passed me by," Ponting said, predicting Australia could "put up a good show" in the fourth and final test against India after three consecutive defeats.
He signed a two-month contract with English county Surrey and will be in England when Australia builds up for the Ashes series. Ponting will also play for Mumbai in the Twenty20 Indian Premier League this year.
Ponting scored 13,378 runs in 168 tests at an average of 51.85. He is third on the all-time highest Test run-scorers' list behind Sachin Tendulkar and Raul Dravid.
Meanwhile, Mike Hussey confirmed on Wednesday that he was happily retired, saying he was flattered by comments from Australia coach Mickey Arthur that he'd welcome him back into the Test team.
Hussey was still at the top of his game when he retired in January after 79 tests.
"It's extremely flattering," Hussey said. "But I've moved on and I really don't want to be back in that pressure-cooker environment, particularly leading into the Ashes. It's going to be an extremely stressful time for all the boys."
Both Hussey and Ponting have been mentioned as possible saviours for the Test team, which was rocked by the suspensions of Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson for the third test in India and fell behind 3-0 in the four-match series.
The players failed to provide team management with a critique of their performances in the second test in an episode which most critics compared with schoolchildren not completing their homework assignments.
Watson, the team's vice-captain, returned to Australia for the birth of his first child after the suspension was announced. But he has since flown back to India and is likely to play in the fourth test beginning Friday in New Delhi.
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