Intensity an inspiration

RICKY Ponting's legacy to the Australian Test team will be instilling an insatiable desire to succeed in his teammates, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland predicts.

Sutherland said he had been surprised by Ponting's decision to end his international career after the Test against South Africa in Perth.

He said Ponting would be remembered as an outstanding cricketer, ''undoubtedly one of the greatest ever among Australian cricketers'', and a ''tremendous leader who led Australia to many, many victories''.

''I think we're all disappointed we haven't seen the best of him in this South African series and won't be seeing him in England,'' Sutherland said.

''I've been looking forward to watching him bat for 15 years … as a batsman and a fielder with boundless energy. I'm disappointed, I know my kids will be disappointed, and I know cricket fans all around the country will be disappointed. But we've got a lot of great memories to look back on.''

Sutherland said he had always been impressed by Ponting but since he resigned the captaincy in favour of Michael Clarke after the 2011 World Cup, his ''respect and regard for him has only increased [based] on the way he has settled back into the team''.

Ponting had been ''unprecedented in terms of his intensity and the way he prepares himself to play''.

''That intensity is there all the time,'' Sutherland said. ''The thing is that he has never, ever been satisfied with his performance. He's always had that hunger to be better. If he leaves that instilled … in current Australian cricketers then Australian cricket is in good shape.

''I'm sure that Ricky Ponting has many significant contributions to make to Australian cricket into the future. It's too early to speculate about what that might be.''

This story Intensity an inspiration first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.