Hobart, Feb 22: Australia's pace spearhead, Brett Lee has hailed Ricky Ponting as great ambassador for cricket and has said that the Tasmanian batsman's presence will be missed in the dressing room.
"Ricky Ponting has been a wonderful teammate, he has been a great ambassador for the game and a brilliant cricketer, almost akin to Sachin Tendulkar," Lee said.
"In his press conference on Tuesday morning, he said that he doesn't expect to play one-day cricket ever again. So I think that he has got that through his mind that he will not get a chance to play in ODIs anymore.
"In the end, it comes down to the selection panel to see what they want to do, and I know he understands fully, as he said in his press conference, that he doesn't expect to play the 50-over format ever again. That said, he can now focus solely on playing in the longer form of the game," Lee told CastrolCricket.com, a media release said.
Lee, said Ponting was the stand-in captain in the previous ODI and was dropped after he led the team to a victory against India at Brisbane on Sunday after he was dropped from the team the following day which termed the end of his ODI career. Lee stressed on the point that the team is going to miss Ponting.
"Ricky is obviously going to be sorely missed in the Australian camp. The dressing room will seem quiet and empty now without him. It's quite a weird feeling actually to think that he won't be around in one day cricket, because he has always been there. He would never really get injured, so it is going to be strange without him.
"He added a lot of value to the team both as player and captain. Even though Michael Clarke had taken over captaincy recently, Punter always offered a lot of inputs about the way the team was and ways of getting batsmen out. He was a big team player and he was always there for the young guys coming in the team, and that will surely be missed," Lee said.
"It was fitting that he was the stand-in captain in his last match though it's quite strange that you captain in one game and then not play in the next. That is not something that normally happens," said Lee.
The 37 year old's match winning knock of 140 against India in the 2003 World Cup in Johannesburg was rated as one of his finest knocks by Lee, as he said, this remains to be the best in his long illustrious career.
"I have been playing with Ricky for almost 13 years now in the Australian side, and I have witnessed some of his best Test and ODI hundreds. But one of my favorite moments with Ricky has got to be the finals of the 2003 World Cup which we won.
"The game that he played under pressure, scoring 140 not out, when we needed the runs was fantastic. We needed someone to lead from the front and he did that as captain. I believe that is one the finest innings he has ever played," Lee declared.
"Ricky has been an absolute legend. He is the type of guy who will go down in cricket history as one of the greatest players to have ever graced the game, a guy that has always led from the front," the seasoned Aussie paceman added.