Ponting hungry for Ashes redemption in 2013
SYDNEY: Australian skipper Ricky Ponting said Wednesday he was as hungry as ever despite his side's loss in the Ashes series and would love to tour England again in 2013, even if he was no longer Test captain.
Ponting faced a grilling from the media at Sydney Airport after arriving back on home soil as the first Australian captain in 119 years to lose two Ashes series in England.
He batted away suggestions he may stand down as captain, saying he wanted a chance at redemption in the next Ashes tour of England in four years' time, when he will be 38 years old.
"Having a pretty bitter and sour taste in my mouth at the end of that Test match, I'd love to be able to go back and give it one more crack," Ponting said.
Australia's most prolific scorer of Test runs said he still had a lot to offer the team, both as a batsman and a leader, but vowed to continue his Test career even if he lost the captaincy.
"If it ends up getting to the point where I'm not the captain, my hunger and determination to keep playing this game are as good as ever," he said.
"If that's with a 'c' next to my name, all well and good. If it's not, I still think I have a lot to offer, particularly a lot of the younger guys who are around our set-up at the moment."
While the once all-conquering Australia has slipped from first to fourth in the Test rankings, Ponting said the young side was heading in the right direction.
He said the bowling attack of Ben Hilfenhaus, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson, as well as all-rounder Shane Watson, would learn from the defeat.
"In years to come those guys are going to win a lot of Test matches for Australia and as a result of this series they all should become better players," he said.
Ponting is in Australia for a short break arranged before the Ashes loss and will miss his side's Twenty20 matches against England, a one-dayer against Scotland and the start of the one-day series against England.
"I've got four one-day games to play at the end of this Ashes tour when I go back (to England), I've got the Champions Trophy (in South Africa next month) around the corner... that's all I can focus on at the moment," he said.
The other Australian Test players who returned home Wednesday refused to blame Ponting for the defeat.
"Ricky Ponting has got my full support and I think he's the best man to be captain," fast bowler Stuart Clark told reporters. "I think it's ludicrous that anyone can say anything other."
Opening batsman Simon Katich said the whole team had to take responsibility for the failure against England.
"There were 11 of us out there that had an opportunity to win the Ashes -- you can't just blame it on one person," he said.
"We had our chances throughout the whole five Tests. Unfortunately, when those chances came around, whether it was Cardiff, Lord's, The Oval, we didn't grab them."
Cricket Australia has backed Ponting's captaincy despite calls for Michael Clarke, Katich or even retired spin master Shane Warne to take over.
Australian media were furious at the defeat, with most anger directed at the selection panel.
"What hurts more than seeing England partying after a stunning Ashes win? Seeing the Poms NOT hit the tiles after an Ashes triumph," said Sydney's Daily Telegraph, referring to England's toned-down celebrations.