Ricky Ponting always talked like he made runs, in torrents. Then the runs dried up, and on Thursday so did the words, almost," writes Greg Baum in the Sydney Morning Herald. First when addressing the team, then at a media conference a few hours later, Ponting had to force himself as he rarely did in his strokeplay.
Ponting asked yesterday that we stay the toasts while he negotiated one last Test, but for the best-of list, here's a starting point: back-to-back double centuries against India in 2003. In the fullness of time, it is this regal Ponting who will live on in the mind's eye, not the toiler of the last month, and justly so.
Born to cricket, Ponting loved everything about it: the net sessions, the touring life, the brotherhood, the talk, the joining and re-joining of battle. In this team, he is, as well as a batsman, mentor to Clarke, de facto coach to off-spinner Nathan Lyon, consultant to all the batsmen.
One of the great things about Ricky Ponting was not what he did but what he stood for, writes Robert Craddock in the Daily Telegraph. His retirement signifies one of cricket's last links with a game played a different way, where a few thousand dollars was a fortune, where playing Test cricket was all a man wanted to do, where ice baths were something you copped in celebrations only.
Also in the Sydney Morning Herald, Chloe Saltau writes: When Brett Lee retired this year, Ponting spoke of his sadness at seeing empty spaces in the dressing room where his mates used to be. None will leave a bigger space than Ricky Ponting. His generation of Australian cricketers is gone. It's Michael Clarke's time to bring on a new one.
An editorial in the Hindu, on why Ponting's legacy is unique in Australian cricket history.
He continued the tradition of driven, attack-minded cricket as batsman and captain, and won a lot. But he also broke tradition by staying in the team after captaincy and he lost a lot more than Australians are accustomed to. In a sense, he presided over a decline from a Golden Age.