No regrets about standing down: Ponting

Hobart : Former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting Wednesday said he has not regrets about standing down for Michael Clarke.

Ponting feels his decision to step down as Australian captain after the World Cup has ensured Clarke will be ready to lead the side in big series like the one against India beginning Boxing Day.

“I don’t have any regrets about standing down. I did it because I thought it was the right time and I did it to try and make myself back into the player that I wanted to be. It gave the incoming captain a lot of time to get experience and knowledge under his belt for the next really big series that we play,” Ponting told reporters here ahead of the second Test against New Zealand that starts here Friday.

“Michael’s probably got seven Tests under his belt before a big series so that’s good experience for him. He’ll be a very experienced captain by the time the big tournaments come around,” he said.

The 36-year-old said he doesn’t feel awkward in the young Australian side.

“It’s actually a bit of a load off my plate just to be an everyday player again,” he said.

Ponting decision to step-down after the quarterfinal loss to India in the World Cup and the Ashes debacle was among the first in a major shake-up of Australian cricket.

“The whole set-up, I think, right at the moment just has a lot more professional feel about it around the team,” said Ponting, who has played 157 Tests. “We’re making sure that nothing’s slipping through the cracks whatsoever.”

The Tasmanian said he can bat any where in the batting order. He is ready to move back to his usual No.3 spot if out-of-sorts opener Phil Hughes is dropped and Usman Khawaja moved up a spot.

“I’ll bat wherever the captain wants me to bat,” Ponting said. “If that’s the best balance for the team then, absolutely, I’ll go back into that position.”

Ponting, however, backed Hughes to bounce in the series having scored 10 and seven in the first Test against New Zealand at the Gabba.

“I think long-term he’s someone who’s going to play a lot of cricket for Australia,” Ponting said.

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