Clarke pays tribute to retiring Ponting


Australian captain Michael Clarke has paid tribute to the “amazing” Ricky Ponting after his former skipper announced his retirement from all forms of the game.

Ponting, one of the outstanding batsmen of his generation, announced on Thursday he would quit all professional cricket in October.

“He’s been an amazing player, there’s no doubt about it, and (he’s) done so much for the game of cricket,” Clarke said on the Cricket Australia website.

Ponting, 38, called time on his international career in December but has continued to play in several domestic competitions, including the EnglishCounty Championship where he is currently appearing for Surrey.

His form has been sparkling with Ponting hitting 192 on his Surrey debut this month, after having been named the Australian domestic Sheffield Shield player of the year in March.

It sparked talk that he should be called out of international retirement to play the Ashes series in England, with Australia struggling after a series of disciplinary incidents and a poor ICC Champions Trophy campaign.

But Clarke said he did not need Ponting back in the fold.

“He retired from the Australian cricket team. We’ve got a new team here and we are looking forward to this series.”

Ponting said the time would be right to walk away completely after he turns out for Mumbai in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament in October.

“While I’m enjoying my cricket as much as ever, it just feels like the right time to finish playing,” he said on the Cricket Australia website.

“My body and mind are in great shape and I know I’m going to really enjoy these last few months before the next stage of life begins.”

The news will come as a blow to the Big Bash T20 tournament, with Melbourne sides the Stars and Renegades both hoping to sign him for the Australian summer after he moved to Victoria state from Tasmania earlier this year.

Ponting played in, and later captained, strong Australia teams and his career total of 13,378 Test runs, in 168 matches with 41 hundreds, is second only to that of India great Sachin Tendulkar.

As captain, he won 48 off his 77 Tests in charge but also led Australia in three Ashes series defeats by England.

He also appeared in 375 one-day internationals, scoring 30 hundreds.

Ponting, who was due to play for Surrey against Yorkshire on Friday, said winning the Sheffield Shield with Tasmania last summer was the perfect way to say goodbye to Australian fans.

“It’s one of a lifetime of memories that will become even more special to me in retirement,” he said.

“I’m so grateful for the opportunities that the game of cricket has given to me.”

He said he wanted to spend more time with his family but was considering career options in the cricket media as well as pursuing commercial opportunities.

He also suggested to British media that he could move into coaching.

“I got a taste for the off-field demands of coaching, mentoring and leadership at Mumbai. I’d like to do more of this in the future,” he said.