Inspired by Tendulkar, Ponting to continue playing in late 30s

Ponting, often compared with Tendulkar for the tag of the best batsman in contemporary cricket, said he planned to play into his late 30s and make amends for his recent poor form "in the coming years".

"If I play well through the Ashes and well through the World Cup, then I'll continue to play. I want to play and if there's younger guys out there that I feel I'm keeping out of the team, then I'll step aside," Ponting said.

"Even at my age we can find ways to improve and I think Sachin Tendulkar's been a great example of that. I think he (Tendulkar) made nine international hundreds in the last year at 37 years of age, so hopefully I can do something similar in the coming years," Ponting was quoted as saying by the Australian Associated Press.

Ponting justified missing the third ODI against Sri Lanka on November 7 by saying that reclaiming the Ashes was his top priority.

"All we're trying to do is give ourselves the best chance of winning the Ashes. If Cricket Australia and I and the rest of the team decided it was in my best interest not to play the game, then that's all we can do," he said.

Instead of playing the third ODI, Ponting chose to prepare for Tasmania's Sheffield Shield clash against Queensland and said the plans had been in place for quite sometime now.

"It was a tough decision to make, the guys had lost seven games in a row. I would've played the third game if it'd been one-all, but as it wasn't, we were two-nil down, so I took the opportunity to come to Tassie and prepare for the Shield game starting tomorrow.

"It probably could've been communicated better that that'd been planned for three or four months."

Ponting also threw his weight behind Michael Clarke, saying media attempts to label the Test vice-captain an unpopular leader within the team were "unwarranted".

"I'll support him as much as possible and he'll support me as much as possible," he said

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