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Ponting, No regrets
Ricky Ponting says he has no regrets about not making it to next year's Ashes series, after arriving at the realisation this week he was no longer good enough to get there.
The former skipper, the most successful Australian captain of all, announced in an emotional press conference on Thursday that the world No.1-deciding Perth Test against South Africa would be his last.
Considered the country's greatest batsman since Bradman, the 37-year-old was determined to fight through faltering form to make it to England next winter.
It seemed Ponting's incredible self-belief was so unwavering he wouldn't budge until pushed, but something clicked in his mind this week and he conceded his time was up.
Ponting stressed he was retiring on his own terms and not at the urging of selectors, walking away from a chance at Ashes revenge, content in the knowledge he had nothing left to give.
"No it's not tough at all. I've made up my own mind that I feel I'm not good enough to get there," said Ponting, who will see out the season for Tasmania and the Hobart Hurricanes.
"It's a pretty easy decision ... when you come to the realisation that what you can give isn't good enough.
"I want to be a consistent performer. (There's) been a build up in my own mind, of reasonably consistent failure so that's why the time is now.
"There were moments where (selectors) probably thought long and hard about ending my career and I'm glad I've got the opportunity to finish this way and on my terms. I'd like to thank those guys."
Uncompromising and always straight to the point, Ponting wanted to bat forever and cared little for what that might do to his personal legacy.
A flowery goodbye was never his priority.
But Ponting will get the most fitting of farewells at the WACA ground where he debuted against Sri Lanka in 1995.
His final appearance will see him equal Steve Waugh's mark (168) as the most capped Australian Test cricketer - second only to Sachin Tendulkar on the all-time list at 192.
And Ponting has a golden chance to finish as part of the No.1 team in Test cricket.
Ponting might have more victories than any individual player (108) or captain (48) in history, and more runs (13,366) than anyone except Tendulkar.
But his desire to win and score big in Perth is undiminished.
"It's an unbelievable opportunity going into what I believe is like a grand final," Ponting said.
"I'm hungrier than ever and I want this win more than any game I've ever played in.
"To get back to the top of the tree and No.1 in the world, there's no better time for me to finish."
Ponting said he was emotional in front of his teammates for the first time in his career when he broke the news to them at the team hotel on Thursday morning: "I tried to say a lot but I didn't get much out," he said.
Captain Michael Clarke broke down in tears when asked about Ponting.
"The boys are obviously hurting at the moment. He's been an amazing player for a long time," he said before pausing to fight back tears.
"And that'll do me for today. Sorry, I can't answer that."
South Africa captain Graeme Smith said Ponting "was the most competitive man I've ever played against."