Ricky Ponting's decision to retire from cricket in October will bring to an end a hugely successful career, which very few players will match.
The former Australian batsman's record speaks for itself. His retirement from Test cricket in November 2012 left him behind, only, Sachin Tendulkar as the second highest run scorer of all time. He played in 168 tests, scoring 13,378 runs, with an average over 51 and a highest score of 257.
He maintained such a high average despite the burdens of captaining his country during 77 Test matches, 48 of which he won.
He continued the success of previous Australian captains by maintaining their standing as World number one test match team and captaining many Australian greats like Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Matthew Hayden.
Many believe it is easy to captain great players but to know when to use them and get the best out of them was one of Ponting's great strengths.
Sir Donald Bradman will always be regarded as the greatest Australian cricketer ever but Ponting deserves to be mentioned in the same breath.
Statistics aside Ponting was a very feisty, committed individual. The Tasmanian never gave an inch during games and expected his team to stand alongside him giving their all for the baggy green that he cherished.
He performed against every playing test nation and did so in all conditions throughout the world. Something that Bradman never had the opportunity to do.
Ponting led an Australian team that was arguably the greatest team ever. He won three World Cups and of his 71 International centuries one of his greatest was perhaps his match-winning 140 in the 2003 final against India.
Punter, as he is known, was also a great fielder. He generally fielded either in the slips or in the covers but he did both with aplomb. He took many spectacular catches and instigated a number of run outs.
Ponting has received criticism during his career, sometimes for his captaincy, not least after losing The Ashes in 2005, sometimes for his off-field antics and sometimes for his technical weaknesses when batting but there is no doubt any test nation would want to have had Ricky Ponting in their side.
Ponting deserves to be considered as one of the greatest ever players to have graced the beautiful game. The true feat of what he has achieved may not be appreciated until he has been retired for many years but I believe that his records will not be broken for many years, if ever, and he may be the last true great Australian cricketer for many years.
Even at 38, I am sure many English supporters will be happy that he will not be making a comeback during the forthcoming Ashes series.
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