Ponting steps down as Aussie Test, ODI captain

Melbourne: Embattled Ricky Ponting today stepped down as Australia`s captain from Test and one day cricket teams in the wake of the team`s shocking quarter-final exit from the ongoing World Cup, but will be available for selection as a batsman in both the format.

"I`ve had no tap on the shoulder from anyone. This is a decision wholly and solely from me. I thought the timing was spot on," Ponting said at a press conference in Sydney.

"All that being said, I`ve made it very clear to selectors that I`m available (to keep playing Test and one-day cricket for Australia)," he added.

Deputy Michael Clarke is expected to replace Ponting as skipper of the Australian Test and one-day teams.

The 36-year-old Tasmanian denied that he was forced to take the decision.

"I`ll have the opportunity over the next couple of days to reflect on where things are headed for me and certainly what direction I feel things are heading for the betterment of Australian cricket," Ponting said.

"I am very proud of what I`ve been able to do as a leader of the Australian cricket team and I have never ever taken any opportunity or any day for granted as the captain.

"It`s a very prestigious job and one that comes with a

lot of scrutiny and a lot of pressure but that is all part of being a leader in any walk of life," he said.

"I still think I have a lot to offer the team as a player and as a leader, with the changing face of the team in the past two years we have got a lot of young faces around the team. Every decision I`ve ever made was always with Cricket Australia`s thoughts at the front of my mind – it`s always been about putting the team before me," he said.