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Ponting stays firm despite Ashes pain

Ricky Ponting may be just one Test defeat away from becoming the first Australian captain in 120 years to lose three Ashes series but he is not entertaining any retirement thoughts.

cricket Updated: Dec 12, 2010 00:56 IST

Ricky Ponting may be just one Test defeat away from becoming the first Australian captain in 120 years to lose three Ashes series but he is not entertaining any retirement thoughts.

Ponting, who turns 36 on December 19, has not been at the top of his form with the bat while his team trail England 0-1 in the five-match series with three Tests remaining.

"My absolute focus is on all the things within my control, preparing the team and myself to perform at our very best in Perth, Melbourne and then Sydney over the next three Tests," Ponting wrote in the Australian newspaper on Saturday.

"I have not stopped for one moment to consider retirement. The question of my future as captain is ultimately a decision for Cricket Australia and categorically the future of Australian cricket must come first.

"I have every confidence in my ability to score runs and be the experienced batsman and leader that my teammates can rely on.

"As captain, I am accountable for the performance of my team and I accept that our most recent results mean that I am being assessed more critically than at other times in my career as captain.

"The team is my priority, not my own ego or the status that comes with being the captain of the Australian cricket team."

Ponting conceded England had dominated the series so far.

"We've been ordinary, we've played poorly. I haven't played the way I would like to have played, especially in Adelaide, but I don't think I'm that far away.

"I've got to keep trusting the way I prepare and play and keep working hard. If anything I might have worked a bit too hard on my batting over the last couple of weeks."

'Beer Unqualified'
Shock call-up Michael Beer is simply unqualified to play for Australia in the third Ashes Test this week, according to former Test spinner Stuart MacGill.

Despite having played just five first-class matches, left-arm spinner Beer was included in the 12-strong squad for the Perth Test as Australia overhauled their squad in the wake of an innings and 71-run defeat to England in Adelaide.

"I am gobsmacked, shocked, I honestly cannot believe it," MacGill told Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

'Aussies spoilt'
Melbourne: Australian cricketers are "spoilt and mollycoddled", feel ex-players, who want former captain

Mark Taylor to chair a crisis summit to find a way out of the slump that has engulfed the national team.

Former Test wicketkeeper Steve Rixon said Australia's continuing dismal performances, is unacceptable.

"We've been spoilt and things have come too easy for us. We've not had to do the hard yards," said Rixon.

"There's no question we need a summit. We want Australian cricket to get back on top and now it's become frustrating."