Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting’s chances of playing in this year’s Ashes series has diminished further following the news that he will retire from all forms of cricket in October.
Ponting, who currently turns out for Surrey in the County Championships, had been the subject of speculation that he may be persuaded to come out of retirement for the misfiring Aussies, especially with questions remaining about captain Michael Clarke’s fitness.
The news appears to have made the possibility of a return even more remote than it was previously thought, with the 38-year-old set to play out his contract with Surrey.
He will then compete in the Champions League for his Indian Premier League side Mumbai Indians before he retires from the game.
Ponting, led his nation in 77 Tests, winning a remarkable 48 of them in a side featuring fellow greats such as Glen McGrath, Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist.
He amassed 13,378 Test runs along the way, placing him second on the all-time list behind Indian Sachin Tendulkar, and he also claimed 41 Test centuries throughout his career, leaving him third in the century-makers list behind Tendulkar and South African Jacques Kallis.
His Surrey side face Yorkshire at Headingly tomorrow, and there is a slight irony that his career in winding down to an end in the country where he has so much history, becoming a prominent figure in the Ashes series since his debut in 1995.
Ponting told the Daily Mail: “While I'm enjoying my cricket as much as ever, it just feels like the right time to finish playing.
"My body and mind are in great shape and I know I'm going to really enjoy these last few months before the next stage of life begins.
"I'm so grateful for the opportunities that the game of cricket has given to me," he continued. “I'll be able to spend more time with family and friends, play a lot more golf and see more of North Melbourne footy games.
“I'm considering a couple of options in the cricket media and I'm very fortunate to have a wonderful group of commercial partners that I will be continuing to work with. (Wife) Rianna and I will continue to build the work of the Ponting Foundation and, with more time on my hands, I'm intending on spending more time with children with cancer and their families."
Ponting, when questioned on whether he would move into coaching, added: “I got a taste for the off-field demands of coaching, mentoring and leadership at Mumbai. I'd like to do more of this in the future."