Senior Australian batsman Ricky Ponting [ Images ] has been awarded country's highest civil honour along with a host of sportspersons of international repute.
The 37-year-old former skipper, who struck a fluent double century against India [ Images ] on the second day of the fourth Test here, has been appointed an officer (AO) in the general division of the Order of Australia [ Images ] for distinguished service to the sport of cricket as a leading player, and to the community through the establishment of the Ponting Foundation.
In 2008, Ponting and his wife Rianna formed the foundation to help cancer patients.
Ponting, with two centuries in his past three Test matches, said he was humbled to have been awarded an Order of Australia honour.
"In every way, this honour is also for my wife Rianna who has been with me for the significant part of my cricket career and above all, has been the driver for all our charity work," Ponting was quoted as saying by Sydney [ Images ] Morning Herald.
"We are very proud of what the Ponting Foundation is doing to help young Australians and their families beat cancer. From the very first time we walked into the cancer ward at the Sydney Children's Hospital almost a decade ago, we have been continually inspired by the courage and determination shown by young cancer sufferers," the skipper added.
Rugby players Stirling Mortlock and George Smith, teenage sailor Jessica Watson and bowls great Steve Glasson were also appointed Officers of the Order of Australia for their services to the sport.