Ponting wants to stay on as Australian captain
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Ponting wants to stay on as Australian captain

Beleaguered Ricky Ponting said today he wanted to play on and captain his country despite his unwanted cricket epithet as the only Australian skipper to fail to win the Ashes three times.

cricket Updated: Dec 29, 2010 11:28 IST

Beleaguered Ricky Ponting said on Wednesday he wanted to play on and captain his country despite his unwanted cricket epithet as the only Australian skipper to fail to win the Ashes three times.

Speculation has been fuelled during the ill-fated fourth Melbourne Test that Ponting's time might be up after a run of low scores and disciplinary issues in the twilight of a celebrated playing career.

England clinched a comprehensive innings and 157-run victory on Wednesday to retain the Ashes ahead of next week's final Test in Sydney, where they will chase a first series win Down Under for 24 years.

Ponting, 36, Test cricket's second-greatest run-getter, has had a dire series, making just 113 runs in eight innings at an average of 16, prompting calls for his removal as captain.

But Ponting said he had no plans to step down and stated his case to stay on as skipper for the Sydney Test.

"The selectors are meeting this afternoon with a view to naming the team for Sydney. It's out of my control," Ponting told a post-match press conference.

"I probably haven't got much of a case at the moment (but) I've got a lot of knowledge on the game.

"The fact that I've played 150 Tests and won 99 Tests as a player and a captain. I've captained a lot of winning teams. There is no doubt that the experiences I have in the game will hold me in good stead.

"I feel I am well equipped to bring on some young guys and we have got a few of them in the side now."

If selectors feel it is time to move Ponting aside then it is likely that his vice-captain Michael Clarke will take over, either in Sydney or beyond.

"Whatever decision I make, it's really important it's for the betterment of Australian cricket," he said.

"I want to keep playing, I would love to keep leading the team, I still think I've got a lot to offer in both those regards."

Ponting said he wanted to be known for more than just being the Australian captain who lost the Ashes three times.

"The fact that I've lost those three series is disappointing for me," he said.

"Hopefully, I'm not only remembered as the guy who lost three Ashes series. There's lots of other great things I've been lucky to be able to be part of as a player throughout my career. This result is not one of my proudest."

Clouding the issue is Ponting's continuing problem with a little left finger he fractured while attempting a slips catch in the third Perth Test.

He played with it in the Melbourne Test and had X-rays on Wednesday.

"The plan was to have an X-ray at the end of this game with Sydney in mind," he said.

"I've gone and done those X-rays this morning and I haven't had the chance to go and visit the specialist, which I need to do.

"He has to go through the X-rays with me and he needs to look at the finger and see what movement and mobility I've got around the joint.

"I need to do that this afternoon. The next part of the plan will be to consult our medical staff overnight and find out what I'm going to be like for Sydney."

Ponting said he felt comfortable getting through the Melbourne Test and it was no excuse for his scores of 10 and 20 in the game.

"I guess there have been a few doubts creep into my mind the last couple of weeks," he admitted.

"I'm not going to hide that. I definitely have to re-evaluate where I'm at as far as being a Test batsman is concerned."

Ponting revealed that he had been approached by selector Greg Chappell before the first Brisbane Test about dropping down the batting order from the demanding No 3 slot.

First Published: Dec 29, 2010 10:56 IST