Ricky Ponting retires from international Twenty20 cricket

Australian captain Ricky Ponting today announced his retirement from international Twenty20 cricket.

Ponting will remain as captain of the Australian Test and one-day sides but will step away from the international Twenty20 format in an effort to prolong his playing career.

Ponting advised Cricket Australia of his decision after what he said was careful consideration.

"I have also spoken to Andrew Hilditch, Tim Nielsen and Michael Clarke and I feel this decision provides me the opportunity to prolong my Australian Test and one-day career, an opportunity I am extremely determined about," Ponting said.

"As I said after the fifth Test in London, I am hoping to continue playing Test cricket for as long as possible and retiring from the Twenty20 format gives me the best chance of doing this.

"I will now have set periods of rest throughout the Australian summer and while touring which I feel will be very beneficial.

"While I will no longer be available for Australian Twenty20 cricket, I look forward to playing with Tasmania's KFC Big Bash team where possible and to fulfilling my contract with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL."

Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland expressed support for Ponting's decision.

"Needless to say he will be a huge loss to the Twenty20 side but it does present opportunities for the other players and leaders within Australian cricket to gain further experience.

"While we have not seen much of Ricky in Australia's Twenty20 matches in recent times, his innings in the first ever Twenty20 International against New Zealand at Auckland was probably the best innings I have ever seen in the Twenty20 form of the game," Sutherland said.

A formal decision regarding Ponting's replacement as captain of the Twenty20 side will be made later in the year.

Australia's next Twenty20 International will be held on 5 February, 2010 when Australia takes on Pakistan at the MCG.