Australia’s Ricky Ponting will call time on his legendary cricket career at the end of the third Test against South Africa after becoming disillusioned with his performances on the crease.
Ponting, 37, will retire as the second highest run-scorer in Test history and the most successful captain of all time with 48 Test wins.
‘A few hours ago I let the team know my decision to make this Test my last. It’s a decision I thought long and hard about but at the end of the day it’s based on my results and my output in this series so far,’ he said, after scoring nought and four in his last two knocks.
‘It hasn’t been what I expect of myself or to the level I feel is required for batsmen in the Australia team.
‘I continued to play as long as I felt I could contribute to wins but over the last couple of weeks I felt my level of performance has not been good enough to do that.
‘My passion and love of the game has not changed one bit over the last 12-18 months, where things haven’t been as I’d have liked or pictured them.
‘But as far as I’m concerned my immediate focus – and the focus of the team – is on what we’re presented with tomorrow. It’s an unbelievable opportunity in what is almost a grand final situation.
‘I’ve prepared this week and I’m hungrier than ever. I want this win more than any game I’ve ever played in.
‘If that happens to lead to a win for the team and we get back to the top of the tree and number one in the world then there’s no better time to finish.’
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.