Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has announced that the upcoming third Test against South Africa in Perth will be his last and he will subsequently retire from international cricket.
Ponting led Australia between 2002 and 2011, guiding the side to two World Cup successes in 2003 and 2007 and overseeing a period of dominance in Test cricket.
Having already retired from limited overs internationals earlier this year, he has scored 13,366 Test runs in 167 matches with an average of 52.21, which puts him behind only Sachin Tendulkar in the all-time run-scoring list.
He also has more centuries (41) than any player apart from Tendulkar (51) and Jacques Kallis (44) but has seen his form decline since retiring as captain and staying in the team as a specialist batsman.
Ponting made his Test debut in Perth in 1995 against Sri Lanka, scoring 96 in Australia's only innings. He will end on the same record mark - 168 - as the man he succeeded as captain, Steve Waugh.
He was the 366th player to represent Australia in Test cricket and the 42nd man to captain the side.
Paying tribute, Cricket Australia (CA) Chairman Wally Edwards said: "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.
"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."
CA Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland added: "Ricky has had an extra-ordinary career and has made an extra-ordinary contribution, including through the example he has set for other elite players and through the excitement he has given fans, young and old.
"There is much to admire, including his pride in his roots at his local cricket club that he spoke so eloquently of at last month’s Bradman Oration, through to the fact that he takes to the field tomorrow for his 168th Test as one of the best prepared players in the modern game.
"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."
During his career, Ponting represented Tasmania and the Hobart Hurricanes in Australia, had a prolific spell with Somerset in England and played for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League in 2008.
© Cricket World 2012
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