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London: Feb 21, 2013
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting on Thursday agreed a deal to play for English side Surrey for two months of this year’s county season.
Ponting has been signed as a short-term replacement for South Africa skipper Graeme Smith, who is expected to be absent on Champions Trophy duty with the Proteas.
The 38-year-old Ponting, who retired from international cricket in December, will be available for Surrey in all formats of the county game in June and July.
Ponting made an emotional farewell to Test cricket, as the all-time second-leading run-scorer, against Smith’s South Africa in Perth in December.
“I’m really excited to be playing for Surrey this season,” Ponting told Surrey’s website.
“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.”
Smith signed a three-year deal to captain Surrey last November but the club were aware he was likely to be absent during the Champions Trophy, which begins on June 6.
Surrey team director Chris Adams revealed the club had since been looking for an experienced replacement before landing Ponting.
“We knew we would lose Graeme to the ICC Champions Trophy in June,” Adams said.
“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.”
Since his international retirement Ponting has continued to play domestic cricket in Australia for Tasmania.
He has been in fine form of late, scoring an unbeaten double century against New South Wales earlier this month and hitting 95 in a one-day game against Western Australia on Tuesday.
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