Ahead of his final ever Test match this week, Ricky Ponting has revealed his burning desire to retire from international cricket on a high, helping Australia to a series win over South Africa.
Should Ponting – who announced that the Test at Perth would be his last – and his team secure the win, they will go to No.1 in the Test rankings. There could certainly be worse ways for the 37-year-old to bow out of the game.
Before looking at what he had to say, it is worth noting that Ponting’s decision is based on the fact that he hasn’t been scoring enough runs. With just 20 runs to his name in the two Test matches against South Africa – he is ready to call it a day.
There will be some England fans suggesting he simply didn’t fancy ANOTHER beating in the Ashes next summer, but Ponting believes the timing is right, despite the fact he would have loved another go at regaining the famous little urn.
It isn’t about the Ashes at the moment though, it is about five days of cricket that will go down in history. Ponting has been a superb servant to Australian cricket and this week, he hangs up his baggy green cap for good.
Ahead of the game in Perth, he said: “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 happened and we get back to the top of the tree and number one in the world then there’s no better time to finish.”
Ponting then went on to say that the decision to retire was purely down to him and not the selectors. There is certainly a case of ‘pushed before shoved’ about this, but he is clearly pleased to be going out on his own terms.
Ponting’s retirement certainly seems to have affected current Australia skipper Michael Clarke. Clearly emotional when talking about the situation, he said the squad is ‘hurting’ following the news, describing Ponting as an ‘amazing’ player.
Australia will certainly be hoping that this doesn’t act as a distraction ahead of such a crucial Test match. Instead, they will use it as extra motivation to get the win.
As for South Africa, well they won’t be reading any Ponting farewell scripts. They will respect him, but will do all they can to ensure his impressive career ends in defeat.