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Ponting resigns as Australian cricket captain

Ricky Ponting has resigned as Australia captain following the team's Cricket World Cup defeat by India.
Ricky Ponting has resigned as Australia captain following the team's Cricket World Cup defeat by India.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ricky Ponting announces his resignation at a news conference in Sydney
  • Two-time ICC Player of the Year cites a desire for improvement as his reason for quitting
  • Michael Clarke is tipped to succeed Ponting when the new captain is named on Wednesday
  • Ponting departs as the most successful Australian captain ever, with 12,363 runs

(CNN) -- Record-breaking batsman Ricky Ponting announced his resignation as captain of the Australia cricket team on Tuesday.

The 36-year-old revealed in a news conference that his decision was motivated by a desire to improve his form without the demands of the captaincy and maintained that he will remain part of the team.

Ponting, who is the most successful captain in Australia's history, made the announcement after returning home following his team's quarterfinal defeat in the Cricket World Cup by India.

"I've decided to step down as captain of the Test team and the one-day team as of now," he told media at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

"I think it'll keep me a bit mentally fresher than I have been in the last couple of years and I think that if I'm mentally fresh and have got my skills in reasonable order, then I'll be able to certainly bat better than I have in the past six months."

Ponting endorsed Michael Clarke to take over his captaincy -- a reign which saw the Tasmanian lead Australia to 48 victories in 77 Tests during an illustrious career spanning nine years as a one-day skipper and seven years as Test captain.

He also helped Australia claim three one-day World Cup tournaments and under his leadership, Australia posted first place in the ICC One Day International rankings.

Despite such impressive credentials, Ponting's Ashes record has been less successful, with three series defeats by England under his captaincy -- the last of which was the first Ashes series Australia had lost at home in 24 years.

In the face of recent speculation, Ponting maintained that the decision to relinquish the captaincy was entirely his own and made with the advice of those close to him.

If I'm mentally fresh then I'll be able to bat better than I have in the past six months.
--Ricky Ponting
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"I have thought long and hard about what Australian cricket needs," Ponting added.

"We have to be doing everything we can to win back the Ashes in 2013-14 and the World Cup in 2015.

"It is highly unlikely that I will be still playing, so it is the right decision for Australian cricket that the next captain now be appointed. This will give him the opportunity to create his own direction and legacy."

Cricket Australia confirmed that a new captain will be named on Wednesday ahead of the next two major tournaments -- the ICC Champions Trophy and the Ashes Series in 2013-14.

Ponting became Australia's one-day captain in 2002 and took over the Test captaincy from Steve Waugh in 2004. He became the most prolific run-scorer of all time, hitting 39 Test centuries and amassing 12,363 runs.

The right-handed batsman and close catching fielder was named ICC Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007 -- the only player to win the award twice -- and also scooped the Captain of the Year and Test Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007 respectively.