FORMER Australian captain Ricky Ponting has announced this afternoon he will retire from international cricket after the third Test against South Africa starting tomorrow in Perth.
Ponting broke the news to his teammates this morning and announced it publicly at a press conference this afternoon.
The decision will leave the 37-year-old Ponting on 168 Tests, equal with the Australian record held by his former captain Steve Waugh.
The Tasmanian right-hander is considered by many to be the best Australian batsman since Don Bradman and is the country’s leading runs-scorer with 13,336.
Only Indian great Sachin Tendulkar has been more prolific at Test level.
Ponting had initially planned to continue playing until next summer’s home Ashes series against England.
But after scoring only 20 runs in three innings against South Africa, pressure has been mounting on Ponting to retire.
‘‘Over the last couple of weeks my level of performance hasn’t been good enough,’’ Ponting said.
‘‘My passion and love for the game hasn’t changed.
‘‘At the end of the day [the decision] was based on my results.
‘‘In this series so far they have not been up to the level required of batsmen and players in the Australian team.
‘‘I’m glad I have got the opportunity to finish on my terms.’’
Ponting will continue to play with Tasmania for the rest of the summer.