County - Ponting agrees to join Surrey

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has agreed to join Surrey on a short-term deal for this summer.

County - Ponting agrees to join Surrey

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Australia's Ricky Ponting (Reuters)

The 38-year-old, who scored 13,378 Test runs at an average of 51.85, will head to the Kia Oval as cover for South Africa’s Graeme Smith while he plays in the Champions Trophy.

Ponting announced his retirement from Test cricket last November after 168 matches for Australia, having also quit limited-overs cricket with 375 one-day international caps, and he says he is excited about the challenge at the county club.

"I’m really excited to be playing for Surrey this season," Ponting said. "They are a forward thinking and historic club — and play at one of the greatest grounds in the world.

"It hasn’t been the friendliest place for me but now it will be my home for two months this summer.

"I’d like to think I can contribute a significant amount to the club - on and off the field - and am looking forward to getting stuck in as soon as I arrive."

England batsman Kevin Pietersen is also at the London club, and Tweeted his delight at the latest signing: "Smith and now Ponting, joining us at Surrey this season.. Wowza!! Hope I get to bat with both of them.. #fireworks"

Ponting has still been playing for the Tasmanian Tigers back in Australia and has been in decent form, having scored 95 against Western Australia earlier this week.

The prolific batsman last featured in county cricket back in 2004 when he signed for Somerset, but he has since turned down offers to return, insisting that it was not on his radar.

Surrey team director Chris Adams was delighted with the coup, and said: “We knew we would lose Graeme to the ICC Champions Trophy in June.

"That given, we focused on recruiting the best possible replacement and, in Ricky Ponting, we have signed one of the greatest batsmen of the modern era.

"This year, our young batsmen will enjoy a unique opportunity to learn from not just one but two of the greatest international players of the modern age."

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