Australia captain Ricky Ponting today announced his retirement from international Twenty20 cricket.
Thirty-four-year-old Ponting will remain as captain of Australia's Test and one-day sides but will give up the Twenty20 format in an effort to prolong his playing career.
"After much thought and careful consideration, I have advised Cricket Australia of my decision to retire from international Twenty20 cricket," said Ponting, currently down under following his country's Ashes defeat but set to return for the final four matches of the ongoing NatWest Series in England.
"I have also spoken to Andrew Hilditch, Tim Nielsen and Michael Clarke - and I feel this decision provides me with the opportunity to prolong my Australian Test and one-day career, an opportunity I am extremely determined about.
"As I said after the fifth Test in London, I am hoping to continue playing Test cricket for as long as possible and retiring from the Twenty20 format gives me the best chance of doing this.
"I will now have set periods of rest throughout the Australian summer and while touring, which I feel will be very beneficial.
"While I will no longer be available for Australian Twenty20 cricket, I look forward to playing with Tasmania's KFC (Twenty20) Big Bash team where possible and to fulfilling my contract with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League."
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said: "We are very supportive of the decision Ricky has made and understanding of the reasons behind it.
"Needless to say, he will be a huge loss to the Twenty20 side. But it does present opportunities for the other players and leaders within Australian cricket to gain further experience.
"While we have not seen much of Ricky in Australia's Twenty20 matches in recent times, his innings in the first ever Twenty20 International against New Zealand at Auckland was probably the best innings I have ever seen in the Twenty20 form of the game."
A formal decision regarding Ponting's replacement as captain of the Twenty20 side will be made later this year.
Australia's next Twenty20 match will take place next February, against Pakistan in Melbourne - with the next short-format World Cup set to be held in the West Indies two months later.