Calcutta (The Telegraph):
The workload and the pressure on Ricky Ponting may have been reduced after the former Australian captain retired from one-day Internationals. But his desire to play and be successful remains untouched.
“My love for the game and passion and desire to play and be successful hasn’t changed. Even when things were really tough a few months ago, all I wanted to do was try to give myself the best chance to be able to play well again,” Ponting said, while speaking at a media conference, on the eve of the third Test against the West Indies, in Roseau.
The prospect of sitting at home for longer periods now, as Tests are few and far between, is not at all frustrating for Ponting. He doesn’t think that his time off cricket will affect his batting.
“I felt I got there through the summer and I feel like I’m batting really well at the moment. So I don’t think a bit of time at home will override that. I’ve still got a few things I want to achieve and a few games of cricket I want to be a part of and win for Australia,” Ponting said.
“I’ve known for a while that was going to be the case, to have a relatively long break like I’ve got coming up for a while and for 20 years it’s been pretty unusual for me to get a break of that length,” he said. “I’ll make sure I use my time wisely and make sure I have a good break at the start of it."
According to Ponting, he is working even harder nowadays. “As long as I feel I can play a role winning games of cricket for Australia I’ll continue to do it. I’m enjoying it as much as ever and probably working harder than ever on my game,” Ponting said.
The stylish right-handed batsman also revealed his plans once he is back home. “I’m planning on spending a bit more time in Tassie this year and doing a lot more work with the Tassie boys down there leading into the start of the Sheffield Shield season which I think is going to be a fair bit earlier again this year by the sounds of things. I’m excited about this week but also looking forward to a bit of a break and a chance to really get my body and mind in great shape for the start of next year,” he said.
Speaking on his fitness and form, Ponting said: “I’m a bit oblivious to how much has been spoken about me as well because I haven’t been reading too much… But to be totally honest, I feel like I’m in as good a shape as ever. The start of my innings in the second innings last week was as good as I’ve played in a while. Even the way I started the other few innings early in the tour, everything was feeling really good just carrying on from the end of the Shield season.”
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