A true great says goodbye
Ricky Ponting, a husband, a father, a friend. But what stands out most in people's minds is that he is truly one of the greatest cricketers to grace a cricket field.
Ponting retired after the third test match against South Afirca in Perth on Monday, which the visitors clinched by 309 runs, and with that the series. It was not the fairy-tale ending that a man of his stature would have wanted, but, as always, Ponting was gracious as ever.
"I was more nervous for this game than for any other game that I have played, just for the reason how much it means to me to play for Australia and wanting to finish the right way," Ponting told supersport.com.
"It hasn't sunk in yet, I had just been wrapped up in the game and trying to score some runs. Having the family here has been great, the support from them, the fans and my teammates has been awesome. It has been a special week for me," added Ponting.
"The gesture from Graeme (Smith) and the team will remain with me forever," said Ponting in reference to the guard of honour they gave him on his final walk to the crease.
Former Proteas top-order batsman, Boeta Dippenar, told supersport.com, "He is an exceptionally tough competitor who gave nothing away. I have been fortunate enough to play against some of the finest cricketers and he ranks in the top three, the others being Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar."
"The biggest accolade that I can give him is that he has relished and seized the biggest moments the best, compared to the others," added Dippenaar.
"He is one of the few players who have done exceptionally well in World Cup finals. When there was pressure on him to perform, he came to the party. There is something about him that when his team needed him, he would step up," said Dippenaar.
Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras head coach and former Proteas spinner Paul Adams said about Ponting, "He always brought a very positive mindset towards the game, especially the way he batted. He always wanted to take charge of the game."
"We are saying goodbye to one of the greats of cricket and anyone who has witnessed a Ponting innings has found it entertaining," continued Adams.
Adams said that Ponting "was always a wicket that you wanted to get, because he was such a dominant batsman."
Dippenaar added that Ponting was "one of the best players of the short delivery that has lived in the modern era."
Ponting scored 13 378 test runs at an average of 51.85, with a highest score of 257. Added to this he compiled 13 704 ODI runs in 375 matches, at an average of 42.03.
There have been many fine cricketers, many good cricketers, but Ponting will always be remembered as one of the greatest cricketers and ambassadors of the game.
"Hopefully my impact and my input on Australian cricket has left something behind - Thank You," ended Ponting.