Under-fire Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting wants to lead the side in next month's tour of Bangladesh even as clamour for his ouster as skipper grew among fans back home following the defeat to India in the World Cup quarterfinals.
Ponting, a mainstay of Australia's triumphs in 1999, 2003 and 2007 including as captain for the last two, responded to a week of speculation over his future with a defiant 104 but could not save his side from defeat after the hosts managed to chase the target of 261 with five wickets to spare.
Victory saw India advancing to the semifinals of the tournament, where they meet arch-rivals and 1992 champions Pakistan in Mohali on March 30. Although the cricket lovers Down Under still want to see him performing at the big stage but they don't want him to don the skipper's cap, with 65 percent fans out of a total of 10,000 wanting him to shun captaincy, according to a newspaper poll.
The skipper defended his team and their World Cup campaign while refusing to admit that it's the end of an era for Australian cricket that had been champions for the past three world cups.
According to Sky news report, Ponting said he did not believe that his batting powers had left him and dismissed speculations that he plans to retire. He said he hoped Australia's period of one-day dominance remains alive and confirmed that he wants to captain the side on next month's tour of Bangladesh.
"It's a bit premature to say it was the end of an era for Australian cricket. I did not think we were far away from winning a game against a very good Indian team on their home soil. We have lost our last two games in the World Cup. I am disappointed with that.
I thought we were a better team than we probably showed in the last few games. We were all pretty devastated to finish where we did," Ponting said. Australia's reliance on the pace of Shaun Tait, Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson did not pay dividends on flat tracks of India and Sri Lanka as thought by the Australian skipper and was not enough to deliver the semi-final berth.
"There were not a lot of alternatives for us unfortunately. We were a bit hamstrung when we left Australia on who to pick as far as injuries were concerned. We came over with a game plan and this style of play which has worked for us in these conditions in the past.
This time it didn't, we weren't good enough," he added. Ponting has now presided over the end of Australia's 12-year run as World Cup champions after his third Ashes series defeat to England earlier this year.