Ricky Ponting has stepped down from Twenty20 Internationals, saying the decision will help keep him fresh for Test cricket and one-day internationals.
Ponting remains the Test and one-day International captain. He said he was moved to make the decision in the hope he could extend his career and lead Australia to England in 2013 where he hopes to erase the memory of two failed Ashes campaigns.
He made the decision public at Sydney Airport this afternoon before boarding a flight to return to England for the second half of Australia's one-day series against the home team and the Champions Trophy one-day tournament which follows in South Africa.
"The last 10 or 12 days for me have been a lot about reflection, looking back to the Ashes and looking forward to my playing future," Ponting said.
"As of today I've decided to retire from international Twenty20 cricket. The decision I've made is all to do with my longevity in the game."
It is assumed that Michael Clarke would take over the job, however his ascendancy to the Twenty20 captaincy is not necessarily a done deal with Cricket Australia saying it would make a “formal decision regarding Pointing’s replacement” later in the year.
Ponting said he would see out the last 12 months of his contract with Indian Premier League franchise, the Kolkota Knight Riders and he hoped to be able to play Twenty20 in the KFC Big Bash with Tasmania.
“I am hoping to continue playing Test cricket for as long as possible and retiring from Twenty20 gives me the best chance of doing this,” he said.
“I will now have set periods of rest throughout the summer and while touring which I feel will be very beneficial. ''
Cricket Australia chief executive officer James Sutherland said the organisation supported 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,” he said.