Legendary Australian Test captain Ricky Ponting says he would have retired "three or four years earlier" except for a lack of leadership in the national team.
One of the most successful Test captain of all time, Ponting retired in 2012 with an average of 51.85 despite averaging less than 40 in three of his last four seasons.
"I probably should have retired three or four years earlier than I did, but I was really worried about where the direction of the Australian cricket team was going if I wasn't around," the 45-year-old told The Age.
"Every great team that I played in ... there was always a lot of old hard heads around just to make sure when the younger guys came in that they understood what it meant to be playing for each of those teams.
"And if I had have retired ... I was worried there wasn't going to be enough people to point them in the right direction."
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Rejoining the Australian team as an assistant coach ahead of the ODI World Cup early last year, Ponting pointed to the 2018 Sandpapergate scandal as an example of a team lacking strong leadership.
"If I look at where things got at Cape Town, I just don't think there were enough people around that team to say 'no' to some of those guys. Things got completely out of control," he said.
"That's very much an outsider's view on it. I had nothing to do with the team really until the last couple of years around some T20 cricket and the World Cup last year."
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