Our relief: Ponting dad tells

AN emotional Graeme Ponting has spoken of the changes his son's retirement from international cricket will mean for their family.

``It means the end,'' the Launceston 61-year-old said moments after watching former Australian Test captain Ricky Ponting's farewell lap of honour.

``It will make life a lot easier for all of us because we've been through some tough times.

``We had to get a private number at one stage because we started to get some abusive calls.

``And I can read the papers again now. I didn't do that much while he was playing. I might read some good stuff about him now.''

Mr Ponting and his wife Lorraine stood with daughter-in-law Rianna and other family members while Ponting enjoyed his send-off with daughters Emmy and Matisse.

He said it was a contrast to watching his son's final Test innings in Perth two weeks ago.

``It's a very special day. It's been hard the last couple of weeks with Rick finishing but today is a good ending,'' he said.

``It's a happy day whereas Perth was sad. I must admit I had a bit of a cry there.

``I did not see it coming. I thought he would play forever. It's been 17 years but I still get emotional. He's done a fantastic job and done us all proud. It's been a long journey.

``There's been ups and downs and Rick's dealt with all of them and he's come out on top.

``He changed when he met Rianna. He was moving off the rails for a while there and Rianna sorted things out. He realised the secret of things he had to do to be the cricketer he wanted to be.''

Asked whether he thought he would see more of his grandchildren now, Mr Ponting replied: ``I hope so, and more of Ricky as well.

``I don't think Rick's realised it's all over yet because he's still pretty busy. I thought it would hit him today but he's happy with what he's done.''

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