Ponting to Step Down as Captain - Report29-Mar-2011 02:24:00 GMT
Sydney: Ricky Ponting, the most successful captain in Test cricket, will step down as Australia skipper later on Tuesday but continue as a batsman with the team, local media reported.
The 36-year-old, who has led Australia in one-day internationals since 2002 and Tests since 2004, has been under increasing pressure after an Ashes defeat to England and a quarterfinal exit as defending champions at the World Cup.
Cricket Australia has called a news conference for 1pm local time (0200 GMT), promising a "major announcement" involving a "senior Australian cricketer."
While Ponting's batting record brooks no argument, his captaincy has often been criticised as Australia has declined as a force in world cricket, with three Ashes series defeats to England in particular damaging his reputation.
Australia went to the World Cup as double defending champions but returned home after defeat to India in the last eight, their unbeaten run of matches in the tournament having been ended at 34 by Pakistan in the group stage.
On his return to Australia at the weekend, Ponting acknowledged the pressure on him and said he would consider his position before the squad to tour Bangladesh was announced on Wednesday.
"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 said.
"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."
Ponting bucked a poor run of form to hit a defiant century in the quarterfinal defeat to India in Ahmedabad, which will only have increased his determination to continue playing international cricket.
"I see myself as a leader around the group, simple as that, whether I'm captain or not I still think I've got a lot to offer as far as leadership qualities go," he said.
Michael Clarke, who stood in for the injured Ponting in the final Ashes Test and for the one-day series against England that followed it, is expected to replace his mentor as skipper.
Australia will play three one-dayers in Bangladesh next month with trips to Sri Lanka and South Africa scheduled for later in the southern hemisphere winter.