Former Australia captain Allan Border led the tributes to departing skipper Ricky Ponting and endorsed his decision to play on.
Ponting has relinquished the Test and one-day captaincy but has vowed to make himself available for selection and targeted a place in the side for the 2013 Ashes in England.
The Tasmanian leaves after 77 Tests and 227 ODIs in charge but opinion on his reign is divided among fans.
While some point to his 48 Test wins as skipper and the two World Cup successes under his stewardship, many others highlight the fact he is the only man to have led Australia to three Ashes defeats.
Border, however, has huge admiration for Ponting and has backed him to regain his best form with the bat.
He said: “I fully support Ricky Ponting’s decision to relinquish the captaincy of the Test and one-day sides – and I don’t think it will be an issue at all if he continues to play as a batsman under Michael Clarke or another captain’s leadership.
“It wouldn’t have been an easy decision to stand down, but I think in the interests of himself and the team, it’s quite timely the captaincy issue is put to bed once and for all.
“Despite stepping down as skipper, I think he still has to be in the side.
“He is still in the top six batsmen in the country and showed in the World Cup quarter-final against India that he still has what it takes to play at international level, so I don’t think that should be debated.
“Is it a problem for a former captain to play under a new leader? We always used to pick the team first and pick the best candidate to captain the team. I think that’s subtly changed over the years – now we tend to pick the captain and pick the team.”
Former Australia team-mate Mark Waugh believes Ponting will go down as “one of Australia’s great captains”.
He said: “His record as captain … is very good.
“His winning ratio is extremely high. Statistically he’s going to go down as one of Australia’s great captains, there’s no doubt about it.
“There have been times when his tactics have been questioned and there are a couple of games where he may have done things differently if he looked back, but that’s nit-picking really.
“He’s a great leader of men, he’s got a lot of respect from the players and he’s a great player. You’ve got to say that he’s going to look back with great pride and adulation at what he’s done as captain.”
Australian prime minister Julia Gillard also joined the chorus of praise.
She said: “To play that kind of role for Australia is an enormous privilege and I know from talking to Ricky today that he has felt that privilege.
“He’s our greatest batsman after ( Don) Bradman… I think all of us would wish him well in whatever he chooses to do for the balance of his life.
“He’s still a very young man but many, many accolades are going to flow in the direction of Ricky Ponting today and in the coming days and let me lend my voice to congratulate a great bloke and fantastic cricketer.”
By Staff Reporter at Sport360