Sydney:Ricky Ponting was barely an hour back in Australia before he started talking about his determination to make another Ashes tour of England, as captain or not.
Ponting became only the second Australian captain to lose two Test series in England when his lineup lost the fifth Test at The Oval on Sunday to surrender the Ashes.
The 2-1 series loss plunged Australia from No. 1 to No. 4 in the Test rankings, coming on top of losses away in India and at home to South Africa, and prompted calls for Ponting's dismissal as captain.
"Having a pretty bitter and sour taste in my mouth at the end of that Test match, I'd love to be able to go back and give it one more crack," Ponting told reporters Wednesday at Sydney International Airport. "I've got to worry about that the next 12 or 18 months and see if all that hunger or commitment is still there.
"Right at the moment it most definitely is. It's probably higher right now than ever before. Who knows, 2013 might be something achievable."
The 34-year-old Ponting left his deputy Michael Clarke in England in charge of the lineup for two Twenty20 matches and the start of the limited-overs international series.
He didn't rule out the notion of the split captaincy in Test and limited-overs duties becoming permanent, saying England uses Andrew Strauss as Test skipper while Paul Collingwood leads the one-day team.
"There's absolutely no reason why that couldn't happen," Ponting said. "It has happened in the past with Australian teams.
"Those are things that need to be thought long and hard about, but if it means that I'm going to be better off for Test matches and bigger series when they come around ... "
Ponting was in charge when the hotly favored Australian team, containing bowling greats Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, slumped to a 2-1 loss in the 2005 series in England, ending an almost two-decade domination of the Ashes.
He recovered from that by winning the International Cricket Council's player of the year awards in 2006 and 2007 and leading the Australians on a 5-0 series sweep of the return Ashes series Down Under.
Despite picking up some unenviable results as captain since the retirements of Warne, McGrath and a host of senior players, Ponting thinks he's got he best credentials to lead the team.
"I've got a lot to offer the team, as a batsman and as a captain," he said. "If it ends up getting to the point where I'm not the captain, my hunger and determination to keep playing this game are as good as ever.
"If that's with a 'c' next to my name, all well and good. If it's not, I still think I have a lot to offer, particularly a lot of younger guys who are around our set-up at the moment."
Cricket Australia and senior players have backed Ponting as captain in the face of criticism.
Ponting, Australia's leading runscorer in Test cricket, said he wasn't immune to the critics.
"Leaders are always judged on their results. I can understand those points of view being out there," Ponting said.
Ponting will return to England for the last four matches of the seven-match ODI series, then lead the team to South Africa for the Champions Trophy and then to India.
The next Test series are at home against the West Indies and Pakistan, six of just nine Tests ahead of the next Ashes series in the 2010-11 summer in Australia.