Ponting defends absence

Aussie skipper insists skipping one-dayer was best for Ashes

Last Updated: 09/11/10 11:18am

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Ponting: Hits back at criticism

Ponting: Hits back at criticism

Sky Bet

Australian captain Ricky Ponting has defended his decision to sit out the final one-day international against Sri Lanka, saying he did so to ensure he was in the best form possible to help regain the Ashes.

"I would've played the third game if it'd been one-all, but as it wasn't, we were two-nil down, so I took the opportunity to come to Tassie and prepare for the Shield game. It probably could've been communicated better that that'd been planned for three or four months."
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Ponting drew some criticism for skipping the final one-dayer against Sri Lanka, which was a dead rubber after the tourists claimed the opening two games in the series.

Instead, Ponting went to Tasmania to prepare for their Sheffield Shield game against Queensland on Wednesday.

The skipper insists it was the right decision, saying the Ashes series is his top priority and the move was made to get him in the best form possible to face England.

"We're trying to do the best we can to manage all our players, giving them as much first class cricket as possible," Ponting said.

"All we're trying to do is give ourselves the best chance of winning the Ashes. If Cricket Australia and I and the rest of the team decided it was in my best interest not to play the game, then that's all we can do."

Criticism centred on Ponting leaving a side that had lost seven games in a row, until Michael Clarke led the Aussies to a long-awaited victory.

"It was a tough decision to make, the guys had lost seven games in a row," Ponting added.

"I would've played the third game if it'd been one-all, but as it wasn't, we were two-nil down, so I took the opportunity to come to Tassie and prepare for the Shield game.

"It probably could've been communicated better that that'd been planned for three or four months."

Clarke is seen as the man to eventually replace Ponting as the team's skipper, but that may not be for some time as the current leader sees himself playing for some time yet.

"If I play well through the Ashes and well through the World Cup, then I'll continue to play," said 35-year-old Ponting.

"I want to play and if there's younger guys out there that I feel I'm keeping out of the team, then I'll step aside. Even at my age we can find ways to improve and I think Sachin Tendulkar's been a great example of that.

"I think he made nine international hundreds in the last year at 37 years of age, so hopefully I can do something similar in the coming years."

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