Ponting hands in armband

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SYDNEY, March 29 – Ricky Ponting quit as Australia's Test and one-day captain Tuesday, just days after the champions were knocked out of the World Cup, but said he remained available for selection.

The 36-year-old, who led Australia in more than 300 Test and one-day matches, insisted he was "not tapped on the shoulder" to give up the captaincy, and endorsed deputy Michael Clarke as his successor.

"I have resigned as captain of both the Test and one day Australian teams, Ponting told a press conference. "I will continue to play and am available for selection in both the one-day and Test teams.

"I have thought long and hard about what Australian cricket needs. Now is the right time for the next captain to assume the responsibility for both the Test and one-day teams," he added.

Ponting said Australia’s exit in the quarter-finals of the World Cup last week in India prompted his decision to stand aside.

"The fact that we went out of the World Cup when we did was the main reason," he said, while denying he had been forced out by Cricket Australia.

"Today is a new start for me and I am very excited about the future. I will give my complete support to our new captain and continue to do my best to set the best possible example for my team-mates and emerging cricketers alike."

Cricket Australia chairman Jack Clarke paid tribute to Ponting’s "outstanding" leadership.

"Ricky Ponting has been an outstanding batsman, one of the best to wear the baggy green," he said.

"His leadership as captain has been outstanding and I sometimes think his brilliance with the bat has overshadowed his fine work as captain.

"Those close to the team know his true worth in guiding his players and setting a personal example of commensurate professionalism, particularly in recent years following the retirement of so many greats of the game."

Ponting captained Australia in 77 Test matches for 48 wins — the most of any Test skipper — 16 losses and 13 draws.

In his 228 one-day matches in charge, he returned 164 wins and 50 losses.

Cricket Australia will meet later Tuesday to discuss who succeeds him, with Clarke the overwhelming favourite.

"I fully endorse Michael Clarke as the next captain," said Ponting.

The Australian team for the three-match one-day international series in Bangladesh will be announced on Wednesday.

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