Ponting backs captain, coach
Brisbane - Former captain Ricky Ponting gave a ringing endorsement of Australian cricket's new selection and squad policies Monday, saying it should have happened a decade ago.
Ponting, lining up for his 157th Test against New Zealand at Brisbane's Gabba Ground on Thursday, was enthusiastic in his support for his successor Michael Clarke and new coach Mickey Arthur being selectors in a major revamp.
New selection chief John Inverarity has signalled a change in youth and rotation Test team policies, while Cricket Australia has appointed former rugby administrator Pat Howard as its high-performance manager.
Ponting, 36, under pressure to hold his place in Australia's batting top order, said cricket was taking a more professional track under the new regime.
"I think it's terrific. I think it's the way the game should have gone a long, long time ago," Ponting told reporters.
"I think the way things have turned out at the moment is what (former coach) John Buchanan was asking for 10 years ago.
"It's a much more professional approach.
"We've got quality people in and around the team and I think, even already now, we're starting to see just a slightly different feel and a few different results as a result of that.
"I think Australian cricket is definitely on the right track."
Ponting revealed during Australia's tour to Sri Lanka two months ago that he had wanted to become a selector when he replaced former skipper Steve Waugh in 2004.
He felt Clarke was in a better position as a selector as he would have more control of the team to go along with the amount of responsibility that captaincy brings.
"It was pretty hard to be accountable for everything that happens but that's the way it was right through my time," he said.
"I think it's a really good decision to go that way to make the captain and the coach both selectors."
Ponting, who has scored 12,557 Test runs at 52.54, said he no thoughts of retirement, even with the second and final Test against New Zealand being staged in Hobart where his cricket career started.
"I honestly have not thought about retirement," he said.
"I can't afford to think about it and when that time is going to be.
"I'm a proud person as well and I want to make sure that I'm giving myself every chance to be a match-winning cricketer for Australia."