Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain and one of the greatest batsmen of the modern age, will retire from all cricket in October. The 38-year-old is currently in England playing county cricket for Surrey but he has said that the Champions League T20 campaign with Mumbai Indians, winners of this year's IPL, will be his last competitive outing.
"While I'm enjoying my cricket as much as ever, it just feels like the right time to finish playing," Ponting told the Daily Mail. "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 announced his Test retirement during Australia's home series against South Africa last year, making a farewell appearance in the defeat at Perth. In 168 Test matches he amassed 13378 runs, second only to Sachin Tendulkar, as well as 13704 runs in ODIs, winning three World Cups, two as captain.
In what has turned out to be his final season in Australia, Ponting helped Tasmania to victory in the Sheffield Shield - and finished as the competition's leading run-scorer - before heading to the IPL. He is scheduled to leave Surrey in July and take part in the inaugural Caribbean Premier League, with the Antigua Hawksbills.
"To win the Sheffield Shield with Tasmania in my last game in Australia played at Blundstone Arena, will forever be a memory close to my heart. It's one of a lifetime of memories that will become even more special to me in retirement," he said. "I'm so grateful for the opportunities that the game of cricket has given to me. I've played with so many outstanding people at all levels of cricket with lifelong friendships made."
Although Ponting struggled in his final Test series, accumulating just 32 runs in three matches against South Africa, uncertainty about Australia's batting line-up ahead of the Ashes had led to talk of a possible recall. Ponting appeared to encourage such speculation shortly after arriving in England to join up with Surrey - "I would never say never," he said in a newspaper interview - but he later clarified that he would not be coming out of retirement. He did however make a return to the dressing room to offer support as Australia went out of the Champions Trophy with defeat to Sri Lanka at The Oval on Monday.
He made 192 on his first-class debut for Surrey last month, proving his continued appetite for making big scores, but it will be in T20 cricket that he makes his final bow. He is one of the marquee signings for the CPL and will be expected to play his last innings in the blue of Mumbai, despite dropping himself from the team and handing over the captaincy to Rohit Sharma during their run to the IPL title.
He will then begin life as a retired professional cricketer, with promoting an autobiography the first job on his list. Ponting said he was looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Rianna, and their two daughters, as well as working with their cancer fundraising charity.
"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," he said. "My autobiography comes out in late October so I've also got a couple of busy months on my book tour when I get back. 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.
"I'm excited about what lies ahead. We are moving to Melbourne, which will be like a new beginning as a family leading a more normal life. 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.
"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."