Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain, announced his retirement from Test cricket at a press conference in Perth on Thursday (November 29), the eve of the third and final Test against South Africa.
Ponting said the Perth Test would be the final of his career. “A few hours ago I let the team know that this upcoming Test will be my last. I’m glad I have got the opportunity to finish on my terms,” said Ponting. “I want this win more than any other game I have played in.”
Ponting said that his passion and love for the game remained, but he decided to call time on his career because he wasn’t satisfied with his recent performances.
“Over the last couple of weeks my level of performance hasn’t been good enough,” said Ponting. “My passion and love for the game hasn’t changed. At the end of the day (the decision) was based on my results. In this series so far they have not been up to the level required of batsmen and players in the Australian team.”
The entire Australian squad turned up for the Ponting’s press conference.
Ponting, who turns 38 next month, had been under immense pressure to keep his place in the Australian side with a poor start to the summer against the South Africans in which he’s made only 20 runs in three innings, adding to the pressure on him ahead of Friday’s (November 30) series decider in Perth.
Perth will be a fitting conclusion to a remarkable career. It is where Ponting debuted, against Sri Lanka in 1995, and by playing on Friday he will equal Steve Waugh’s mark of 168 Test matches – the most in the history of Australian cricket.
He was made Australian captain in 2004, and went onto become one of the country’s greatest cricketers, with 13,366 Test runs to his name – the second highest in Test history – including 41 centuries.
Cricket Australia were effusive in their praise for Ponting, with James Sutherland, the CEO, describing Ponting as one of the best ever Australian cricketers. “Ricky has had an extraordinary career and has made an extraordinary contribution, including through the example he has set for other elite players and through the excitement he has given fans, young and old,” he said.
“I think his record until he retired as captain was outstanding but my respect for him since then has actually increased, seeing first-hand how he stepped back to become a total team player, absolutely committed to his captain, unstinting in his work to help other players and single-minded in his view that everything, including his own ambition, must always be second place after whatever was best for the team.”
Wally Edwards, the Cricket Australia chairman, said Ponting’s decision and announcement was typical of the way he has approached cricket throughout his career. “Ricky is always uncompromisingly straightforward and leads from the front – he has made a decision that he believes is best for him, his family and his team,” said Edwards.
“On behalf of Australian cricket, I congratulate him for his outstanding achievements as a batsman, captain and, after he stood down as captain, leader by example.”