Ponting pays tribute to all who supported him

RICKY Ponting departed cricket's ultimate stage as he had begun _ with the support of his family and an acknowledgment for the club that produced him.

In an emotional 17-minute address to the media after this week's loss to South Africa, Australia's all-time leading run-scorer thanked all those who had helped him achieve his dreams.

Holding his four-year-old daughter Emmy while one-year-old Matisse watched on, Ponting, who turns 38 next Wednesday, acknowledged the support he had received from his manager to the media, sponsors to family.

Here is a part of his speech, which ended with him leaving to a standing ovation.

``There's a few people I want to thank that have been incredible over the last few years. My family have been great supporters and given up a lot to let me achieve the things that I've achieved in this game. Without them it wouldn't have happened.

``My extended family is here as well, it's been great to have them here. They are not ones that have travelled much around the world to watch me play, but it's been great.

``Mum and dad's support over the years has been remarkable and I obviously would not have been here without the opportunities I was given at an early age.

``Cricket Australia for their support over 17 years, it's been amazing. I've had my ups and downs but never had anything but support from the people that matter, so I'm thankful to them.

``I'm thankful to Cricket Tasmania for their support and the opportunities I was given and my home club Mowbray, if they see me up here doing this they'll be  that's the place I learned the game and the person I am was moulded from my background and my upbringing. What you've seen over 17 years is a result of my early days at the Mowbray Cricket Club, so thanks to the boys back there.

``I just hope I've left the team in a better place than it was when I started. Hopefully my impact and input on Australian cricket has left something behind. Thank you.''

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