British media apologetic over debasing 'great' Ponting throughout playing days

Ricky ponting

The English media has hailed Ricky Ponting on the eve of the former Australian captain's 168th and final Test match at Perth against South Africa on Friday, and also apologised for disparaging him throughout his playing career.

Former English off-spinner Vic Marks lauded Ponting in London's The Guardian, calling him a 'team man, right down to the decision to quit Test cricket'.

Marks said Ponting is the first of the three 'undroppables' to retire, with Indian superstar Sachin Tendulkar and South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis likely to depart the international arena soon, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Derek Pringle, writing in the London Telegraph, said Ponting was 'a batsman and captain whose natural instinct was to attack, whatever the situation. He leaves the game as one of its greats and arguably its toughest competitor'.

London''s Daily Mail took the opportunity to apologise to Ponting for accusing him of cheating, unsporting behaviour, two-facedness, but mostly for creating the caricature Ratty Ponting.

"Like all the greatest villains, we loved to hate you. Like all Australians, we've loved making fun of you. Above all else we loved beating you – and we'd gotten used to that," wrote Mark Alford.

"The sad truth is we wish more of our sportsmen and women were like you. And that's why we must say sorry," he added.

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