Ricky Ponting to retire in October
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting will retire from all cricket in October.
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The 38-year-old called time on his international career in December but has continued to feature in a variety of domestic competitions and is currently playing for Surrey.
After the end of that deal he will compete in the Champions League with his Indian Premier League franchise the Mumbai Indians before retiring for good.
There have been suggestions that Ponting could be persuaded to don the Baggy Green again this summer for one final Ashes assignment, especially if Michael Clarke's back injury affects his participation in the series, but today's news appears to make that possibility even more remote than it already was.
Ponting told the Daily Mail website: "While I'm enjoying my cricket as much as ever, it just feels like the right time to finish playing.
"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."
Ponting's decision is a blow to Cricket Australia, who had offered him a 'marketing contract' earlier this month and hoped he would play a major part in their lucrative Big Bash League.
But Ponting is defined by his achievements on the world stage.
He played in, and later captained, Australia sides who were the envy of international cricket and his career total 13,378 Test runs places him second on the all-time list behind only Sachin Tendulkar, amassing 41 Test centuries in 168 caps.
As skipper, he led his country in 77 Tests and won a remarkable 48 - though English fans will not need reminding that he also captained his country in three Ashes defeats.
He also appeared in 375 one-day internationals, scoring 30 hundreds.
Ponting, who plays against Yorkshire at Headingley tomorrow, bows out of the game with a wealth of opportunities in front of him, including charity work, media prospects and some much needed leisure time.
"I'm so grateful for the opportunities that the game of cricket has given to me," he said.
"I'll be able to spend more time with family and friends, play a lot more golf and see more of North Melbourne footy games.
"I'm considering a couple of options in the cricket media and I'm very fortunate to have a wonderful group of commercial partners that I will be continuing to work with.
"(Wife) Rianna and I will continue to build the work of the Ponting Foundation and, with more time on my hands, I'm intending on spending more time with children with cancer and their families."
As for a potential future in coaching, Ponting added: "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."
Ricky Ponting factfile:
1974: Born December 19 in Launceston, Tasmania.
1986: At the age of 12 he signs a bat contract with Kookaburra.
1992: Scores 56 against South Australia in his first-class debut for Tasmania, aged 17.
1995: February - Makes one-day international debut for Australia against South Africa aged 20, but is bowled by Eric Simons for one.
December - Makes Test debut against Sri Lanka, scoring 96.
1996: January - Makes his first ODI century with 123 against Sri Lanka.
March - At 21, becomes youngest batsman to score a World Cup century with 102 against the West Indies.
1997: Records his first Test century with 127 against England at Headingley in his first Ashes innings. However, he was in and out of the Test team for the next two years.
1999: A fight outside a pub in Kings Cross, Sydney earns him a suspension, but later in the year a century against the West Indies sees him cement his place.
2002: When Steve Waugh is dropped, Ponting vaults over vice-captain Adam Gilchrist to become Australia's ODI captain.
2003: Leads the team undefeated through the 2003 World Cup and makes an unbeaten 140 in the final.
2004: Steve Waugh's retirement opens the door for Ponting to assume the Test captaincy, and he wins his debut match against Sri Lanka in Galle in March.
2005: September - Becomes first Australia captain since Allan Border to experience Ashes defeat as England win a thrilling series 2-1.
Ponting scores 1,544 runs in the calendar year, an Australian record.
2006: January - Becomes the only player to mark his 100th Test with a century in each innings, scoring 120 and 143no against South Africa in Sydney.
March - Scores 164 from only 105 balls in the fifth ODI against South Africa in Johannesburg, but sees the Proteas make 438 for nine in reply to Australia's 434 for four.
December - Leads Australia to a 5-0 whitewash of England with his two centuries seeing him pass Waugh's record of 32 Test tons for Australia.
2007: April - In a World Cup match against South Africa in St Kitts, Ponting passes the 10,000-run mark in ODIs, the first Australian to reach the mark and seventh man in the world. Australia win the World Cup undefeated.
2008: January - Victory in the second Test against India makes it 16 in a row for Ponting's Australia, tying a record. India win the next Test in Perth to end the run.
May - Scores his 10,000th Test run against the West Indies in Antigua. Border and Steve Waugh are the only other Australians to reach the mark.
2009: August - Having scored 150 in the first Test in Cardiff, Ponting's team lose another Ashes series in England. 2-1 win.
September - Retires from Twenty20 internationals.
October - Australia win the ICC Champions Trophy with Ponting the tournament's leading run-scorer. He becomes the third man to pass 12,000 ODI runs.
2010: January - Named by an elite panel as the world player of the decade.
December - Ashes series sees Ponting lose the urn to England for a third time, this time in front of Australian crowds. He struggles for runs as England win the series 3-1.
2011: February/March - After missing a 6-1 one-day series win over England through injury, Ponting returns to lead Australia in the World Cup but his century is not enough to stop them losing to India in the quarter-finals.
March 29 - Resigns as captain of Australia but says he wants to play on for the team.
2012: January - Scores 134 and 221 against India in a return to form, passing 13,000 Test runs in the process.
February 20 - Dropped from the one-day side for matches against Sri Lanka and India.
February 21 - Announces his retirement from one-day internationals, but vows to play on in Test cricket.
November 29 - Announces the third Test against South Africa will be his last before retiring from Test cricket after scores of four, seven, 23, zero and four in his last five innings.
November 3: Bows out with a disappointing return of four and eight in his last two knocks but receives a guard of honour from South Africa and a rousing reception from the WACA.
2013: June 20 - Announces he will retire from all forms of cricket following October's Champions League.