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September 8, 2009

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Ponting quits from Twenty20

AUSTRALIA skipper Ricky Ponting has retired from Twenty20 internationals and plans to have "set periods of rest" to prolong his test and one-day career, but will not relinquish his lucrative Indian Premier League contract.

"After much thought and careful consideration I have advised Cricket Australia of my decision to retire from international Twenty20 cricket," the 34-year-old Ponting said in a statement yesterday.

"I have also spoken to (chief selector) Andrew Hilditch, (coach) Tim Nielsen and (vice captain) Michael Clarke and I feel this decision provides me the opportunity to prolong my Australian test and one-day career. As I said after the fifth test in London, I am hoping to continue playing test cricket for as long as possible and retiring from the Twenty20 format gives me the best chance of doing this."

Ponting's captaincy has come under scrutiny in Australia after the Ashes series loss to England last month, but the batsman said he was determined to remain in charge of the side.

The 1-2 series defeat made Ponting only the second captain in more than 120 years to lose the Ashes on British soil twice.

Ponting, who will remain as test and ODI captain, said he would continue to play domestic cricket for Tasmania and would fulfil his contract with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL. "I will now have set periods of rest throughout the Australian summer and while touring which I feel will be very beneficial," he added.

Cricket Australia (CA), which has dismissed calls for Ponting to step down following the Ashes defeat, said it supported his decision.

Mediocre record

Australia has posted a mediocre record under Ponting's captaincy in the shortest format of the game, crashing out of the Twenty20 World Cup in June.

New Zealand meanwhile has shortened next year's home test series against Australia to two matches to help alleviate scheduling conflicts with the IPL Twenty20 season.

Six senior New Zealand players, including captain Daniel Vettori, delayed signing their contracts with New Zealand's cricket board until late July, after conflicts between the IPL and the team's international program were clarified.

The IPL player payments are made on a pro-rata basis, reducing the money paid to players when they miss parts of the tournament.

The Australians traditionally play three tests when touring their neighbors but New Zealand Cricket said it had cut the series back to two tests due to the "compressed nature of the tour."


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