Kevin Pietersen among first to pay tribute to retiring Ricky Ponting

 

Kevin Pietersen was among the first to pay tribute to Ricky Ponting's wonderful career after the former Australia captain this morning announced he is to retire from Test cricket.

Pietersen, currently on tour with England in India, made his own Test debut against Ponting's Australia in the 2005 Ashes - a series which culminated in a famous home victory.

That was to be the first of three Ashes series Ponting would lose as captain, two in England and one in Australia - and now at the age of 37, the Tasmanian has accepted he will not do battle for the urn again after all.

Pietersen announced himself with a swashbuckling hundred as England claimed the Ashes for the first time in a generation seven years ago.

He voiced his admiration for Ponting on Twitter, signing off with the hashtag £legend to describe the great number three batsman. "Ricky Ponting RETIRES.... ONE OF THE GREATS!" Pietersen wrote.

"I always got excited playing AUS, so I could watch him bat up close. Well done Punter!"

Ponting will call time on his 17-year international career after the forthcoming Perth Test against South Africa, and will therefore never again face England - against whom Australia will play 10 Ashes Tests in home and away series in 2013 and early 2014.

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior was quick to follow Pietersen's lead, with his own tribute to Ponting - also on Twitter.

"Congrats to Ricky ponting on an amazing career," he said.

"One of, if not the, best batsmen I've ever played against and fierce opponent!"

Michael Clarke, Australia's current Test and one-day international captain and Ponting's immediate successor, was taken aback by the veteran's decision to retire - even though it comes after a worrying loss of form at the highest level.

"I didn't have a feeling it was coming," he said.

"Ricky spoke to me after [the second Test against South Africa in] Adelaide and obviously made his decision over the last few days.

"The boys are obviously hurting right now. He's been an amazing player for a long time." Ponting's retirement will have no detrimental effect on Australia's preparations to face South Africa in Perth, however.

"It will only give us more inspiration," added an emotional Clarke, who has played his entire Test career with Ponting as a senior guiding force in the team.

The 'legend' hashtag is a recurring theme among team-mates and opponents eager to pay their own tributes today on Twitter.

Australia opener David Warner wrote: "Well done to Ricky and his family...has been an outstanding career and will be missed by everyone! £legend."

India batsman Virat Kohli added: "Ricky Ponting - what an absolute legend.

"I am glad I had the honour of playing against him. Take a bow."

Tom Moody, twice a member of Ponting's World Cup-winning squads as an Australia all-rounder before becoming a successful international coach, said: "Congratulations Punter on an astonishing career ... been a privilege to play alongside you and watch from afar.

"You are truly a great Australian."

Former England captain Michael Atherton sensed the time was right for Ponting to end his career, but nonetheless ranks him among the very best cricketers in history.

"I'm not that surprised he's decided to retire," he told Sky Sports News.

"The signs have been thre for a while that his batting had slipped below his high standards.

"It's a difficult decision for every ageing sportsman to make."

As impressive as Ponting's mighty career record is, Atherton believes his contribution should not be measured in numbers alone.

"He's right up there (with best ever) ... averaging more than 50, the second-most Test runs and more than 40 hundreds.

"But I don't think of him so much in a statistical way.

"He was just a great competitor for Australia.

"His game's never been just about an accumulation of statistics. His prime motivation has always been to help Australia win Test matches.

"He's an ultra-competitive, hard-nosed competitor on the field but a nice man off it ... a peerless competitor."

Michael Vaughan, the England captain in the 2005 Ashes series, wrote on Twitter: "The best batsman I had the privilege to play against ... Ricky Ponting... #Punter. Australian cricket will not be the same without him."

PA

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015