Ricky Ponting to carry on as Australia player

Australia captain Ricky Ponting said he would be continuing as an international cricketer despite the champions' exit from the World Cup with five-wicket defeat by the co-hosts India in the quarter-finals.

Ponting made 104 - his first international hundred in 13 months - in Australia's total of 260 for six.

But it wasn't enough, as India finished on 261 for five with an unbeaten 57 from Yuvraj Singh seeing his team to victory with 14 balls to spare.

However, despite having now presided over the end of Australia's 12-year run as World Cup champions and an Ashes defeat, Ponting still said talk of the end of an era was misplaced.

The 36-year-old Ponting, who has also been under intense pressure for his controversial behaviour at the World Cup, on Wednesday denied reports he planned to retire from the international scene at the end of World Cup and finish his career at an English county.

Ponting, who has been captain for nine years, was under pressure even before the World Cup, having earned the dubious distinction of becoming the only Australian skipper of the modern era to fail to win the Ashes three times.
He did himself few favours in India, taking a reprimand from the International Cricket Council after smashing a dressing-room TV in a fit of fury after being run out during Australia's win over Zimbabwe.

He was also criticised for angrily throwing the ball to the ground after colliding with teammate Steven Smith during their victory againsy Canada, and for failing to walk in Saturday's defeat by Pakistan.

There was a fresh flashpoint on Thursday when, with India's Gautam Gambhir - who eventually made 50 - on nought, Ponting said he was unsure about a catch which, when referred, was shown by replays to have bounced well in front of him.

The retirement rumour came a day after a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, in which an unnamed Cricket Australia official was quoted as saying that Ponting faced a challenge at board level to retain the captaincy.

Ponting said if he was asked to step aside as leader to make way for Michael Clarke, it would not be an issue.

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