Ponting encore

RETIRING Tasmanian coach Tim Coyle believes Ricky Ponting's decision to join English county Surrey later this year could indicate that he intends to play another season for his home state.

Australia's all-time leading run-scorer is remaining tight-lipped about his plans for next season, but putting his hand up for both county cricket and the Indian Premier League may suggest Tasmania will get another season out of a player averaging 111.83 in the Sheffield Shield this year.

``It might be all about him thinking about next year,'' Coyle said. 

 ``I think as you get to that sort of age, doing preseasons and stuff that we have to do, he does find that hard and maybe part of his thinking is: if I'm going to play on, I need to keep myself ticking over in the wintertime.  I don't need to  be running laps of the oval  _I need to keep playing.''

Ponting, who ended his 17-year 168-match Test career in December, has signed a   deal to play for Surrey in June and July while the county's skipper,  Graeme Smith, is on duty with South Africa.

It is the first time the 38-year-old has played county cricket since a brief stint with Somerset in 2004 and follows his decision to  lead the Mumbai Indians in this year's Indian Premier League.

``The IPL has never been on his radar but it tends to pop on your radar when they start telling you what it's worth!'' Coyle joked. 

``To me, that's an indication that he wants to keep playing and if that's true, that's a tremendous result for Tasmania.''

With two Sheffield Shield matches plus a potential final remaining before Coyle ends his eight-year trophy-laden spell in charge, Cricket Tasmania is  interviewing for his replacement.



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