Ricky Ponting to retire at end of third Test against South Africa

Former captain to bring end to magnificent career with Australia

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has announced his decision to retire from international cricket.

Ponting had already stepped away from the one-day format of the game but tomorrow’s Third Test against South Africa in Perth will be his 168th and final appearance in the Baggy Green.

The 37-year-old has been out of sorts with the bat during the current series, managing just 20 runs which led to speculation about his future.

Ponting made his international debut back in 1995 but ended his one-day international ambitions in February of this year.

He has amassed 13,366 runs at an average of 52.21 and scored 41 centuries and 62 half-centuries.

Announcing his retirement, Ponting said: “I haven’t been performing consistently over the past 12 to 18 months. I believe now is the right time [to go]. This is a decision not made by the selectors, it was made by me.

“I’ve said all along that I would continue to play as long as I could continue to make a contribution to wins and I think over the last couple of weeks my performance has not been good enough to do that. I’ve given cricket my all, it’s been my life for 20 years, there’s not much more I can give.”

England’s players praised Ponting following the announcement. Kevin Pietersen tweeted: “Ricky Ponting retires . . .  one of the greats! I always got excited playing AUS, so I could watch him bat up close.”

Matt Prior wrote: “Congrats to Ricky Ponting on an amazing career. One of, if not the best batsman I’ve ever played against and fierce opponent!”

As captain, Ponting amassed 48 Test wins — an Australian record — and in the one-day format led his country to two World Cup titles. The only blemish on his career was that he was the first Australian captain to oversee three Ashes series defeats.

Current Test captain Michael Clarke led the Aussie tributes to his former skipper.

“The boys are hurting at the moment,” said Clarke. “He’s been an amazing player for a long time.”

Shane Warne, meanwhile, added on Twitter: “Congrats to Ricky Ponting on an amazing career, well done Punter. Enjoy your last match in Perth buddy, was a pleasure playing with you.”

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