After almost 20 years at the top, Ricky Ponting is leaving cricket. On behalf of, well myself, I want to say thank you, Punter.
In the years to come, your career will be boiled down to some pretty respectable stats, and your position as the best since Bradman might be cemented or pushed aside.
But being a prolific batsman is only a small part of what Australia has to thank you for.
Thanks for being the kind of sportsperson that Australians could truly admire.
You commanded the respect of your peers and the public – one look at Twitter yesterday afternoon could tell you that.
Thanks for being one of the last remaining traditionalists of the game and not being afraid to stand your ground.
Thanks for being the first one at training and the last one to leave.
No matter how history looks back on you, your dedication and obvious passion for the bat and ball was inspiring to a generation of Aussies.
Thanks for making your pull shot one of the most iconic in the game.
Thanks for having the safest hands in cricket and some of the quickest reflexes I’ve ever seen.
Thanks for letting your emotions show, on and off the pitch. In an age of sporting sanitation, you have been a breath of fresh air. You have been frank and honest in your assessment of games right up until your retirement presser. Don’t ever change.
Thanks for continuing to put everything you could into the sport you love, even when everyone was calling for your head.
Thanks for gracefully allowing Pup to take the reins, but still continuing to act as one of the leaders of the side.
But most of all, thanks Punter for making what I’m sure would have been one of the toughest decisions of your life and taking yourself out of the game you’ve dedicated so much to.
Oh, and thanks for timing your run to coincide with the rise of the Bulls’ Usman Khawaja.
Cricket will not be the same without you.
So long, Punter, and thanks for all the fish (and so few ducks).