Sydney: Ricky Ponting on Wednesday shelved his Test captaincy ambitions to pay a glowing tribute to the magnificent cricketing career of incumbent skipper Steve Waugh.
Waugh announced on Wednesday he will retire from international cricket after the fourth and final Test against India here next January.
Ponting, the national one-day skipper, said he understood he would be the centre of a summer of speculation after Waugh’s decision to retire.
“I understand there will be speculation over the summer about the captaincy, that’s fair enough,” Ponting said on Wednesday. But that is an issue for the selectors and (Cricket Australia) directors further down the track.
“I have made no secrets that I’d like to do the job, but that’s not an issue for today, it’s about Stephen Waugh and what a great player and leader he’s been for our country.”
Ponting said he was looking forward to the four-Test Indian series, which now looks like becoming a long emotional farewell tour for 38-year-old Waugh.
“Today is about celebrating Stephen’s success,” he said.
“What is important to me is that we all enjoy being a part of his farewell series, it’s sure to be something special.”
Waugh made his opinion clear on the captaincy issue. “I don’t think I’m talking out of school to say Ricky is the one that will take over.
“He’s done a great job with the one-day side and he’s been groomed to take over and I’d be very surprised if someone else got ahead of him in the queue.”
Ponting replaced Waugh as one-day captain two years ago and led the team to victory in this year’s World Cup.
Wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, at one time Australia’s vice-captain and who has led the side in Waugh’s absence, also endorsed Ponting.
“I’ll say straight out my tip would be Ricky Ponting,” Gilchrist told an Australian radio station.
“I’ve been fortunate to have been given a chance before... But I think the way Ricky’s taken the job in one-day cricket, being around him and looking at the way he operates and seeing his mind in regards to cricket scenarios, he just reads it so well.”