Ponting to stay as captain, says Andrew Hilditch

Updated: Mar 20, 2011, 11:40 AM IST

Melbourne: The chairman of the National Selection Panel (NSP) in Australia, Andrew Hilditch, has said that Ricky Ponting will captain the cricket team beyond the World Cup.

Predicting a tough 12-month period for Australian cricket in the next year, Hilditch said he backed Ponting to spearhead the team’s revival when the blueprint for reform is tabled later this year.

"If anyone is going to play for a long time, I think Ricky Ponting has the potential to," the Daily Telegraph quoted Hilditch, as saying. He added: "Some players get to go on their own terms at the right times and some don``t. I suppose if you`re determined to play forever, then at some stage a selector is going to make the hard call.”

Hilditch further said: "But the reality is, I`m looking at Ricky and the way he is playing. He is still our very best fielder. It`s hard to imagine he`s 36 - he looks young and fit and amazing, really.” He added: "Ricky is a fantastic player and he will be a key to this World Cup. If we`re going to win it, he will have to play well. His history in big games is huge," he added.

Hilditch doubts whether Ponting would be prepared to move down the order in a bid to prolong his Test career. "The batting order is up to the captain so, if Ricky is thinking that way, then it might happen," he said. "But it`s a fair way down the track,” he added.

Bureau Report