Ricky Ponting has told Tasmania he wants to play on next season, even after completing his illustrious CV in a first Sheffield Shield victory with his state.
Ponting finally won some silverware with the Tigers, two decades after his debut, as the home side played out a draw with Queensland on Tuesday in the Shield final at Bellerive.
The 38-year-old former Test captain, who retired from international cricket last December and went on to top the Shield run-scorers’ list, tasted success in his third decider.
He is unlikely to be lost entirely to Australian cricket after telling Cricket Tasmania he intends to play on if stints in the the Indian Premier League, the English county competition and a Caribbean Twenty20 tournament go well.
“I’ve told Tasmanian cricket this week that I’m really keen to play on again next year,” he told reporters.
“But in the same breath, I’ve also told them not to contract me.
“I don’t want to take a contract spot and pull out at the last minute.
“If I get through the winter really well and I’m still keen to play again next year, then I’ll obviously go round again.”
Tasmania required only a draw after finishing the regular season top of the table to earn hosting rights.
The Tigers’ most successful coach, Tim Coyle, will depart having taken the state to all three of its Shield titles and two one-day cups.
Ponting, who made 35 and one in the match, said it was too early to rate the victory with his numerous international achievements, but his time back in the Shield had been special.
“I love the culture and I wanted to give as much back as I could to Tassie cricket,” Ponting said.
“They’ve been so good to me over the years and I haven’t been able to play the amount of cricket that I would have liked to have played.
“It’s been a special time in my career, the last few months, to come back around these boys and feel like you’re having a bit of an influence over the way they’re playing their cricket.”
Set the near impossible target of 446 from 87 overs, Queensland made a hard-fought 6-183 in their second innings to save the match but finished 262 behind the home side.
Nathan Reardon (51) top-scored as the visitors fought valiantly to deny the outright win that Tasmanian captain George Bailey pushed for by refusing to call an early end to day five.
But Queensland were always going to be up against it after they bowled more than 170 overs in Tasmania’s first innings, then another 97 in the second.
“We got beaten by a better side,” Bulls coach Darren Lehmann said.
“You’re never a chance to get 450 in 87 overs so it was more a case of making them work pretty hard.”