Ponting to decide future in 'next few days'

Monday, 28 March 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

MELBOURNE (AFP) - Ricky Ponting said he will decide his international future over the next few days, but insisted he still has a lot to offer Australian cricket.

The captain's return home after Australia's World Cup quarter-final elimination by India corresponds with calls for his replacement as Australia's Test and one-day skipper.

Ponting, whose captaincy has been under attack since Australia's Ashes series debacle against England in January, scored a fighting 104 but it was not enough to prevent India from knocking the champions out in Thursday's quarter-final in Ahmedabad.

He has now presided over the end of Australia's 12-year run as World Cup champions after his third Ashes series defeat as captain to England.

"The last couple of weeks there's been a few differing opinions out in the papers and out in the news about me and my future as leading the team," Ponting told reporters.

"It's been nice the last week especially to hear some endorsement from Cricket Australia and the selectors about that position.

"But that's where the next few days are crucial to me as well. I have to really decide what I think is right for me and the team going forward.

"I still think I've got a lot to offer the team as a player and a leader."

Ponting, 36, who is Australia's greatest run-scorer in Tests, said he didn't believe now was the right time to retire from international cricket.

But he said he was prepared to play on in the national team without the captaincy and drop down the batting order if he -- along with Cricket Australia -- believed that was the best way forward.

Ponting confirmed in his column in The Australian newspaper Saturday that he has played in his last World Cup and that his immediate playing future was up to the national selectors.

Ponting, who has been captain for nine years, had a difficult World Cup, taking a reprimand from the International Cricket Council after smashing a dressing-room TV in a fit of fury after being run out during Australia's win over Zimbabwe.

He was also criticised for angrily throwing the ball to the ground after colliding with teammate Steven Smith during their victory against Canada, and for failing to walk in Saturday's defeat by Pakistan.

Ponting said he was also unsure about a catch against Pakistan which, when referred, was shown by replays to have bounced well in front of him.