‘I was seething’ after not being given the opportunity to retire from ODIs, reveals Ricky Ponting

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“I had to keep a lid on what I was really thinking”

In his forthcoming autobiography, At The Close Of Play, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting revealed that he was “seething” after “John Inverarity’s new selection committee never gave me the chance to retire from ODI cricket”.

Ponting, who finished with 13,704 ODI runs, which included an unbelievable 30 centuries and 82 half-centuries, only managed scores of 2, 1, 6, 2 and 7 in his last five ODI innings.

The national selection panel subsequently decided to drop Ponting as they were sick and tired of waiting for him to regain his form.

“Inside, I was seething,” Ponting admitted. “Not for the first time in my career I had to keep a lid on what I was really thinking. These blokes had been appointed as the result of the Argus Review, a document that stressed the need for better communication between players and selectors.

“John Inverarity’s new selection committee never gave me the chance to retire from ODI cricket, which – after 375 games, 50 more than any other Australian – I think I deserved.”

Ponting is still Australia’s most successful captain with 48 Test wins under his belt, but he revealed that many people had tried to stop him from handing the captaincy over to Michael Clarke in 2011, despite having lost a Test series against India and South Africa, and most importantly, three Ashes series.

“Only 43 people had led Australia in a Test match,” he wrote. “It would have been nice to be departing on the shoulders of my team-mates, victorious, rather than at a press conference after a defeat. One comfort was that it was totally my decision.

“No one had knifed me; instead, a number of people tried to talk me out of it. Tim Nielsen thought it was vital I stayed in the job for as long as I could while the team was developing.

“Senior figures from Cricket Australia contacted my manager, James Henderson, who had been looking after me since 2007, straight after the quarter-final to say, ‘Don’t let Ricky make any stupid decisions. At least make him hold fire until after the games in Bangladesh.'”

In his autobiography, Ponting also recalls the emotional rollercoaster he and his family underwent when he decided to retire from international cricket.

“I sat on the edge of the bed, looked at Rianna, and quietly said what I’d been thinking since I’d unstrapped my pads a few hours earlier,” Ponting wrote. “I’m not sure I can do this anymore. I don’t think I can keep putting myself through it.

“Rianna looked at me and summed up the situation in a moment. I never had any doubts that she was the right woman for me and times like this confirmed it.

“‘You don’t have to’, she said gently. ‘You don’t have to keep putting yourself through this.'”

“I rang Dad, who was watching a Twenty20 Big Bash game on the television. ‘G’day Dad,’ I said. ‘What are you doing?’

“‘I’m watching blokes make runs, something you haven’t been doing lately!'”

“Dad was a constant. It was always good to talk to him.”

While Ponting’s father joked about his son’s lack of runs during that period of time, his mood immediately changed upon being informed about his son’s decision to retire.

“However, his mood quickly changed when I told him I’d decided to retire.

“‘No, not yet mate,’ he said quietly. There was silence. As he tried to keep going, I could sense a tear in his voice. ‘No, just go out there and bat,’ he mumbled. ‘Shut everyone up'”

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