Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting confirmed he plans to stay in cricket after writing a flawless farewell script at the Kia Oval where he called time on his first-class career by batting all day to salvage an LV= County Championship draw against Nottinghamshire.
The winner of 168 Test caps, Ponting hit an unbeaten 169 and frustrated Nottinghamshire's attack for over seven hours in his red-ball swansong.
Ponting, who is set to retire from all forms of cricket in October, made his score off 319 balls to lift his first-class run tally to 24,150 runs at an average of 55.90 in 289 appearances as he made his exit from the four-day game in style.
By reaching three figures, the 38-year-old went past Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Mark Waugh in the list of first-class centurions to join Darren Lehmann on 82.
Now he will continue to play for Surrey in the Friends Life t20 this month and then head for the Caribbean Premier League before taking part in the Champions League T20 with his Indian Premier League franchise Mumbai Indians.
He will then return to Australia to commentate for Network Ten on the Big Bash League as well as pursuing business interests.
Ponting, who amassed 493 runs in his six championship innings for Surrey at an astonishing average of 123.25, looked to life beyond playing after he bowed out in style.
"First-class cricket is over for me now,” he said. "As much as I enjoy it and as much as I know I can keep playing, there's other things I have to look after in my personal life. It's been 21 years now.
"A lot of that time has been away from home. It'll just be nice to live life as a father and as a parent.
"I'll stay involved with the game. I love the game too much and love competing.
"I've got some stuff to do with the Big Bash back in Australia this year and the Ashes series is back on in the summer, so I'll be there or thereabouts, involved somewhere.
"Today, on a personal note, was a nice way to finish."
When asked if his effort today in any way made him reconsider his decision to retire, Ponting answered: "Look there's no doubt I could continue to play and continue to play well.
"Saying that, I've really enjoyed the time I had here with Surrey and my intentions were not to retire when I first came, it is just that opportunities have opened up back home off the field."
Ponting had not clearly not absorbed the magnitude of today being his final bow, saying: "To tell you the truth I haven't really thought about this being it. I've been pretty zoned in and focused on what I've had to do for Surrey.
"It wasn't until Gareth Batty talked to the boys about the career being over that I've had a chance to sit back and take my white pads off, put them over there and think that's the last time I'll be wearing them.
"That's what makes playing like I did today that little bit better. If I'd have failed in this innings then it would have been a really disappointing way to finish.
"That's what I've tried to do as much as I can here. I've just tried to spend as much time as I can with the younger blokes, talking about cricket, talking about batting and talking about my experiences.
"Hopefully the boys have learnt something from the way I go about things and the way I have played my cricket."