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Ponting chokes back tears at press conference

JUSTIN CHADWICK
Last updated 05:00 04/12/2012
Ricky Ponting
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FINAL FAREWELL: Ricky Ponting addresses a press conference with his daughter Emmy after retiring from international cricket.

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Retirement sunk in quickly for Ricky Ponting, but the emotions took some time to flow.

Ponting was able to crack a few jokes while reflecting on his 168-test career following Australia's 309-run loss to South Africa at the WACA Ground on Monday.

But at the end of his 16-minute press conference, when he took time to thank his family for their support, Ponting finally let the emotion of the occasion get the better of him.

Choking back tears, Ponting had to pause several times to collect himself while giving praise to his wife Rianna and his parents for all the sacrifices they made in helping him become one of the nation's finest ever cricketers.

It was a touching moment from a player who normally keeps his cards close to his chest.

Ponting wasn't able to conjure up the fairytale finish he desired in Perth, with the 37-year-old posting scores of just four and eight in his final test.

And after making just 32 runs at an average of 6.4 during the three-test series against South Africa, Ponting knew he had made the right decision to retire.

"Normally for me when those big moments come and I've been under pressure I've been able to find something and find something within and go out and score runs and make it all go away," said Ponting, holding his four-year old daughter Emmy while her one-year-old sister Matisse watched on.

"But I haven't been able to do that for a while now and that's when the alarm bells started to ring.

"Within my own mind I knew it was the right time to be walking away.

"I had a bit more of a fairytale ending in my own eyes than what's happened this week.

"And still things are going badly for me even now (as a loud tap noise interrupts his press conference), so it's been one of those weeks I guess.

"Now that it's over, it has sunk in."

Ponting received a guard of honour from South Africa's players when he made his way to the crease for the final time.

"It was a bit unexpected I must admit," Ponting said of the gesture, which was organised by Proteas skipper Graeme Smith.

"I was a bit embarrassed. But it was an amazing gesture. I thanked him when I made my way there."

And after South Africa wrapped up the win and a 1-0 series triumph, Ponting was chaired off the ground by David Warner and Michael Clarke.

Ponting nominated Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar as the best player he ever played against, but said he probably lost more sleep thinking about ways to stop West Indies great Brian Lara.

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And as for the toughest bowlers he's faced? Wasim Akram and Curtly Ambrose headed the list, although Ponting said Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh also caused him plenty of headaches.

Ponting said Rob Quiney, Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja were the obvious candidates to replace him, but thought Alex Doolan could be a roughie.

- AAP

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