Ponting kisses Test cricket goodbye

One of Australia's greatest ever batsmen, Ricky Ponting, will retire after the Perth Test against South Africa. The 37-year-old officially announced this afternoon that he will step aside following his 168th Test, at the WACA starting tomorrow.

The Tasmanian has compiled an astonishing record, scoring 13,366 Test runs at an average of 52.21. But he felt his performances weren't good enough to earn a spot in the team.

The Tasmanian has compiled an astonishing record, scoring 13,366 Test runs. Getty Images

"This is a decision not made by the selectors, it was made by me," Cricket Australia tweeted Ponting as saying. "I haven't been performing consistently over the last 12-18 months. I believe now is the right time to be making this decision.

"I've given cricket my all."

However, Ponting felt his inability to shine at the big moments helped him make up his mind.

"Thing that struck home was even though my preparation and feeling was good I was falling at the big moments. Based on performances on this series. Not good enough output for an Australian batsman," said Ponting.

Ponting was dropped from the one-day team but has remained in the Test side as a specialist batsman with disappointing results. It will be his 168th Test for Australia, equalling Steve Waugh’s record as most Tests played by an Australian.

CA Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said he and Ricky had exchanges messages earlier today after Ponting had made his decision overnight.

“Ricky has had an extra-ordinary career and has made an extra-ordinary contribution, including through the example he has set for other elite players and through the excitement he has given fans, young and old,” Mr Sutherland said.

“There is much to admire, including his pride in his roots at his local cricket club that he spoke so eloquently of at last month’s Bradman Oration, through to the fact that he takes to the field tomorrow for his 168th Test as one of the best prepared players in the modern game”.

“I think his record until he retired as captain was outstanding but my respect for him since then has actually increased, seeing first-hand how he stepped back to become a total team player, absolutely committed to his captain, unstinting in his work to help other players and single-minded in his view that everything, including his own ambition, must always be second place after whatever was best for the team”.