Melbourne:Australia skipper Ricky Ponting on Thursday revealed that he will skip this year's Indian Premier League starting in April to concentrate on national commitments.
"My country comes first and there was no way I could give my all for Australia if I used the only two-week break we have to go and play in India," Ponting, who is contracted with the IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders, wrote in his column in 'The Australian'.
"I have been talking with my team, the Kolkata Knight Riders for a month or two now and in the end my only choice was to withdraw from the 2009 competition, but I will most certainly be back for 2010 when I hope to be able to make a much greater contribution," he said.
Ponting, who is currently in South Africa with the Australian squad for a Test and one-day series, thanked Knight Riders for letting him go this time around.
"The franchise has been fantastic about the whole thing and I want to thank them for their understanding," he wrote.
The Australia skipper said he could have played in the IPL for two weeks but said it would have been unfair on both Knight Riders and the national team.
"And then there was the issue of giving up the chance to be with my family for a fortnight. It is always hard to leave Rianna (wife) and I cherish every second I spend with my daughter Emmy."
Ponting said part of his decision not to play in IPL this year was that Twenty20 cricket was physically demanding and he wanted to preserve himself for the World Cup of the shorter format in England in June.
"Part of the reason I decided to withdraw from the IPL is that Twenty20 is such a physically demanding game and you have to be at your best to play the game and I want to be at my best for the (Twenty20) World Cup. I am really in good physical shape at the moment but have to admit that there is a bit of tiredness after the summer.
"It (not playing in IPL) is not an indication of any intention to ease myself out of Twenty20 cricket. I am really looking forward to the (Twenty20) World Cup. It's one trophy we do not have on the shelf and have never had," Ponting said.
"I have given no thought to not playing any form of the game or retiring from any form of the game. I love captaining my country and will not let go while I have a contribution to make," he added.
The Australian skipper said he would catch up Knight Riders' progress in the second edition of the IPL on television.
"It will be painful not to be with the Knight Riders and I am going to be sneaking out in the night to catch as many of their matches as I can on the television," Ponting said.