Sydney: Mar 23, 2012
Australian veteran Ricky Ponting revealed on Friday that mental and physical exhaustion had prompted a decision to rest this year rather than take up a stint with English county Somerset.
Ponting had the option of playing in England during the seven-month break between Australia's Test commitments.
Australia play three Tests against the West Indies next month before waiting until November to host South Africa. The 37-year-old said he had not considered representing Somerset because a long and demanding season in Australia had left him fatigued.
"I haven't entertained the idea at all of playing county cricket this year," Ponting told reporters.
"I've got to look at what my best preparation is, post the West Indies, and that will probably be to have a couple of months off.
"It's been a hard 12 months for me personally and around my cricket. With things not going as smoothly as I wanted at the start of the year, I had to train harder and work harder on my game and think more about my game than ever before.
"It's taken its toll a little bit, so I need to have a chance to refresh and recharge my batteries and get a solid pre-season under my belt before the Australian summer."
Ponting risked being sacked from the Australian team before he scored 544 runs at an average of 108.80 in the 4-0 whitewash of India earlier this year.
His stated ambition is to extend his career long enough to play one last Ashes series in England in 2013. Somerset had been linked with Ponting but the manager of the 162-Test veteran earlier denied the reports via his Twitter account.
"Ricky is not turning his back on playing county cricket in the future but the 2012 season does not line up with his current priorities," James Henderson said.
"He will not be playing cricket from after the West Indies tour through until the start of the Sheffield Shield season. He will use the down time to spend more time with his family and refresh after a hectic past nine months."
Australia Test captain Michael Clarke has backed Ponting to make the Ashes tour next year. (AFP)