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Ricky Ponting © Gallo Images

Ponting to captain PM's XI against Windies



Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting will lead a Prime Minister's XI against the West Indies in January as he attempts to extend his international career into next year's Ashes series.

Ponting was named on Tuesday to captain the Prime Minister's XI in a January 29 one-dayer at Canberra's Manuka Oval which precedes Australia's five one-day internationals against the West Indies. The rest of the Prime Minister's selection will be named in January.

Ponting is eager to play the 2013 Ashes series in England but has failed with the bat in two tests against South Africa this summer, and acknowledged this week that "if I'm not getting runs I might not make the summer out and I definitely won't be in England."

Australia coach Mickey Arthur told reporters later Tuesday that Ponting needs runs to cement his place in the team for the Ashes series but the selectors were reluctant to dispense with the 38-year-old's experience.

"All I know is inside the dressing room and privately we've all backed Ricky Ponting," Arthur said. "At the moment he has the unanimous backing of the selection panel.

"If he's scoring runs we certainly want Ricky Ponting around for the next six months. We want Ricky Ponting to go to the Ashes, there's no doubt about that.

"Like any batsman, you've got to keep scoring runs and (this week's third test against South Africa at Perth) is the big test for him. That's by Ricky's own admission."

Arthur said there had been no discussion so far about Ponting's future.

Australia captain Michael Clarke also backed Ponting.

"Once he gets in I have no doubt at all he'll go on and make a big score," Clarke said. "He knows how to make big hundreds.

"He's still as good a player under pressure as anyone in that changing room."

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