Ricky Ponting will play more Twenty20 cricket in 2010 than in 2009 despite his announcement on Monday of his retirement from the three-hour version of the game at international level.
Ponting made the announcement at an airport press conference before departing for the UK to rejoin the Australian ODI team. He cited the desire to spend more time with his family, plus an intention to extend his longevity as a Test and ODI player and captain.
While Ponting will be absent from all international Twenty20 fixtures for Australia, including the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies, he will turn out for the Kolkata Knight Riders in next year’s Indian Premier League.
It will be the final year of a three-year contract with the Shah Rukh Khan-owned franchise, although he stood aside from the 2009 IPL because of Australia’s heavy international program.
KKR are expected to play fourteen T20 games in next year’s IPL, rising to sixteen if they reach the final, which will qualify them for further matches in the 2010 T20 Champions League. Ponting would be based in Kolkata for approximately two months for the duration of IPL3.
Ponting has also left the door open to appear for the Tasmanian Tigers in the domestic T20 “KFC Big Bash”
Ponting bows out of international Twenty20 on a dismal note, leaving Michael Clarke with the legacy of a team seeded behind Bangladesh for next year’s ICCWT20.
There has been no indication that Ponting will step down as Test captain’ despite having lost three of his last five series and becoming the first Australian skipper since the 19th century to surrender the Ashes.
Whether the rearrangement of his Twenty20 duties reinvigorates his Test leadership is a matter that remains to be seen.
(Update: See the first comment for a Postscript.)