File photo of former Australia captain Ricky Ponting. (AFP)
Former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting has admitted he waited far too long to retire. During an interview with Sky Sports in the UK, Ponting said he should have stepped down from the Australian squad two years before his final Test match, against South Africa in 2012.
Ponting made his debut in 1995 and retired in 2012, when his form had hit a trough. He is Australia's leading run-scorer in Tests and One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and captained them during their dominant period in international cricket.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Ponting said, "I probably played two years longer than I should have done. I think I knew in myself that I couldn't get better. I felt that if anything, I could maintain a certain level. I think from 120, 130 Tests I knew I could not get any better."
Ponting gave up captaincy after the 2011 World Cup and then played under Michael Clarke. He did struggle and the only bright spot in that time came against India at home in 2011-12. But, Ponting said, he continued to be around the Australian youngsters.
"I wasn't playing for me, I was playing for the younger guys in the team. Great teams that I played in had a really good solid core of experienced players and great characters. I might be patting myself on the back here, but I thought I was one of those players," Ponting said.
After retirement, Ponting played for Tasmania and performed well in domestic cricket. He then played for the Mumbai Indians and the Antigua Hawksbill. His last First-Class outing came for Surrey in county cricket.