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    Ponting is a living legend: Steve Waugh

    As Ricky Ponting announced his retirement from international cricket on Thursday, his former team-mates hailed him as a 'living' legend' and termed his retirement as an end of an era.

    Steve Waugh, whose Australian record of 168 Tests will be equalled by Ponting when he plays his last Test at Perth against South Africa, heaped praise on Ponting for his longevity and tenacity. "He's been a fantastic player and leaves the game a living legend," he said. "You tend to remember the great stuff. A cricket career with such longevity will have ups and downs and I always prided myself on how I came back from adversity and I think Ricky is the same," Waugh told Sydney Morning Herald.

    Brett Lee eulogised Ponting for his amazing grit and cast-iron mental toughness. "Coming from that tough, working-class area of his in Tasmania, he has that street-fighter mentality. He's a tough character who we saw battle through injury," Lee said. "There was a feeling nothing could hurt Ricky Ponting. Nothing. Think back to when [Steve] Harmison hit him at Lord's and split his face. Ricky looked down and saw blood, got stitched up and carried on batting."

    Glenn McGrath owned up that he felt nostalgic upon hearing Ponting's decision to retire. "It's the end of an era," McGrath said. "Ricky is part of that old era that is drawing to a close. I have a huge respect for Rick and would have him in any team I played in."

    Justin Langer said that Ponting is a part of holy trinity of greatest Australian batsmen, including Sir Don Bradman and Greg Chappell. "His passion and humility for the game made him a person you'd stand alongside in the trenches. He's an incredible person and is one of the greatest ever cricketers in the history of the game."