Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has no doubt that Ricky Ponting will be remembered as one of the greatest cricketers of all time.
Ponting announced on Thursday that he will retire from Test cricket following the final match of the series against South Africa starting at the WACA on Friday, with the 37-year-old to bow out of the game with 168 caps and an average of above 50 in the five-day game.
But it's not just his record at the top level that has impressed Sutherland, with Ponting also receiving praise for his leadership skills and ability to pass his knowledge on to the younger players in the Australian setup.
"He is undoubtedly one of the greatest ever Australian cricketers," Sutherland said of Ponting.
"A brilliant batsman with a record that speaks for itself and an absolute brilliant fieldsman as well.
"A tremendous leader that led Australia to many victories, with a couple of World Cups coming to mind as memorable moments.
"I want to pass on our heartfelt congratulations to Ricky on what has been an outstanding and brilliant international career."
Sutherland said he had expected Ponting to play on until the completion of next year's Ashes tour in England and was surprised when he heard the news on Thursday morning.
"I certainly expected him to be hungry and determined to do that (play on until after the Ashes) as he is such a great competitor with such great belief in himself," Sutherland said.
"He came into this series with some good form under his belt and with a great preparation over the winter.
"So we are all disappointed we haven't seen the best of him in this South African series and won't be seeing him in England.
"But it is his decision and I am sure he is very comfortable with his decision."
Sutherland believes Ponting may not be lost to the game forever and that he could still forge a career for himself in the Australian setup in the future.
"I am sure Ricky Ponting has many contributions to make to Australian cricket in the future," he said.
"It is too early to speculate on what that might be, but I know his love and passion for the game and success of the Australian cricket team is something that is close to him.
"So hopefully we will never be too far away from him."
Justin Langer's decision to quit as Australia's batting coach earlier this month has opened up a position that would seemingly suit Ponting and Sutherland said that role could be something he looks at doing in the future.
"It's definitely too early to speculate on that sort of thing, but I know the value that he brings to the team at the moment as a mentor," Sutherland said.
"He is a quasi coach in his own way now and he has potential in that coaching area."He has potential in so many other ways...he has got a real appetite for cricket and I am confident that won't be lost to Australian cricket."
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