New Delhi: Ricky Ponting has been named captain of Mumbai Indians for the six edition of the Indian Premier League, the franchise said in a statement on Thursday.
The 38-year-old Australia batsman retired from international cricket late last year following the Test series against South Africa. He was bought by the Mumbai-based team at the auction early this month for his base price of USD 400,000.
There was speculation that Sachin Tendulkar might be asked to lead the franchise after offspinner Harbhajan Singh quit the captaincy last year after a brief stint.
Former India legspinner Anil Kumble, currently mentor with the team, said: "Ricky has a lot of experience to lead a competitive and a high-profile side like Mumbai Indians in the IPL. Sachin readily agreed to my suggestion that Mumbai Indians is best served when he leads the batting unburdened by the rigours of captaincy. It was our idea [Sachin and mine] to bring in Ricky as the captain of the Mumbai Indians."
Ponting said he was excited at the prospect. "It's a huge honor and I thank Mrs Ambani and the Mumbai Indians management for the faith they have reposed in my abilities. Mumbai Indians has the potent combination of Indian and International cricketers and I look forward to leading the team to play to its full potential."
Nita Ambani, the owner of Mumbai Indians, also expressed her joy. "On behalf of the Mumbai Indians family, I welcome Ricky Ponting to the team as the leader of the side. Today we have world's two biggest cricketing greats in Sachin and Ricky, and I am sure the duo will be an inspiration for the youngsters in the team. Sachin will always be an integral and important part of Mumbai Indians' leadership. Ricky will bring in fresh perspective in the team leadership and will have the support of the best cricketing minds like Sachin, Anil and John Wright."
The high-profile T20 league will run from April 3-May 6.