Ponting turns down IPL

Skipper puts country ahead of riches

By Joe Drabble.   Last Updated: 20/02/09 6:38am

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Ponting: International commitment

Ponting: International commitment

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Australia captain Ricky Ponting has announced he will not play in the Indian Premier League this year and will instead focus on his international commitments.

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"My country comes first and there was no way I could give my all for Australia if I used the only two-week break we have to go and play in India."
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The 34-year-old had been signed up for a short spell with the Kolkata Knight Riders, but will now miss the competition in order to concentrate on the upcoming Ashes series.

"I have made the decision I will not play in the Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition this year," Ponting wrote in his column in The Australian newspaper.

"My country comes first and there was no way I could give my all for Australia if I used the only two-week break we have to go and play in India.

"I have been talking with my team, the Kolkata Knight Riders for a month or two now and in the end my only choice was to withdraw from the 2009 competition, but I will most certainly be back for 2010 when I hope to be able to make a much greater contribution."

Toughest summer

Ponting, who averages 56.87 in Test match cricket, recently endured arguably his toughest summer as Australia captain, overseeing a 2-1 home defeat to South Africa.

That series reverse saw Australia's status as the number one ranked Test nation come under serious threat and Ponting is now keen for his side to re-assert their dominance as soon as possible.

"All of us in the Australian dressing room have said that this has been our toughest summer," he added.

"Obviously our priorities are to be in the best physical and mental shape we can be for the Australian side and it doesn't get any more important than the games we've got coming up."

Australia are currently in South Africa preparing for a three-Test series against the Proteas, two Twenty20 internationals and five ODIs.

"We have something to prove to the South Africans and the world," continued Ponting.

"After that it is the ICC Twenty20 championship and then we have the Ashes. And nobody needs to be told how much that matters.

"In that sense it was not that tough a decision. But in saying that, everybody who has played in the IPL enjoyed the experience and everybody in cricket wants to be part of the tournament. It is the new frontier to some degree and an exciting frontier.

"However, when you weigh that up against being at your best for the series ahead it was an easy choice."

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