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Ricky Ponting

by Saurabh Sharma May 30, 2020 • 21:03 PM

Ricky Ponting is one of the most decorated players to ever don the Baggy Green. Boasting more records than any other player in Australian history, Ponting has scored the most Test and ODI runs for his country, has had the most wins as a player, a captain and has taken the most catches by a non-wicket-keeper.

Born in Tasmania, Ponting played cricket from an early age and came from a strong cricket-playing family. He earned a sponsorship contract while just in eighth grade and quickly rose to the major leagues. 

Ponting's domestic performances were rewarded when he was selected for the Australian ODI team to play in all the matches in the 1995 New Zealand Centenary quadrangular tournament in New Zealand, that also included South Africa and India. Ponting made his debut against South Africa at number six in the batting order. He scored one from six balls, as Australia successfully chased South Africa's target on a difficult batting track. Australia secured another victory in their next match, this time against New Zealand in Auckland, where Ponting scored 10 not out, after coming to wicket late in the innings. His highest series score came in the third International where Australia lost to India in Dunedin. Ponting was promoted to number three in the batting order and responded by scoring 62 from 92 balls.

Throughout Australia’s “Golden era”, Ponting was Australia's mainstay in the batting line-up. In Australia, he is regarded as their best batsman since Don Bradman, and the numbers back up that claim quite emphatically. Only Tendulkar has more runs in Tests and ODIs, and till recently, he had the second-most centuries in both formats too, till Kallis went past him in Tests. Among Australians, Ponting's Test aggregate is easily the highest, though his average has fallen marginally below Greg Chappell's, Ponting scored almost 4000 runs more than the next-best Australian.

Perth may not be Australia's most historic ground, but in a way it'll be fitting that Ponting's Test journey started here 17 years ago: a rough lbw call stopped him four short of a debut century, against Sri Lanka, but since then not much has come in the way of his appetite for runs. Even when he took over as captain, it didn't diminish from Ponting the batsman: he averaged 51.51 in Tests and 42.91 in ODIs over a long captaincy stint.

Ponting's Test career started with 96 against Sri Lanka, and he then also passed 50 in his first Test against West Indies (88 in Brisbane), England (127 at Headingley), New Zealand (73 not out in Brisbane), South Africa (105 in Melbourne) and Pakistan (76 not out in Peshawar). (He also scored 54 in the only Test against ICC World XI in Sydney, making it seven 50-plus scores in his first Test against an opposition.) Despite those strong starts, though, Ponting's Test form was patchy through his first three years.

From 1999 to 2006, though, he was on top of his game as a Test batsman. During this period, he scored more than 8000 runs at a 65-plus average, with 31 centuries in 87 Tests. No other batsman scored 7500 Test runs. From 2007 onwards he wasn't quite as prolific, but he still managed to average almost 41, though his conversion rate of fifties into hundreds dropped drastically.

After the sacking of Steve Waugh as ODI captain in 2002, Ponting was called on to lead the team in an away series against South Africa. Australia won comprehensively and he was consequently made ODI captain ahead of the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup. It proved to be a master stroke as he led Australia to cup honours playing a massive hand in thrashing India in the finals. He repeated the feat in 2007, but was rather unsuccessful in 2011. Ponting then stepped down from the post he held for a long time, paving way for a younger generation to assume the leadership role.

In 2012, Punter, often considered to be Australia's best batsman since Sir Don Bradman, decided to call it quits, with one last appearance in Australia's third Test against South Africa at the WACA, Perth, which was co-incidentally the venue of his debut match too. However, in an illustrious career that spanned 17 glorious years, Ponting’s last Test turned out to be his worst performance since the 2001 debacle against India. But, the veteran wasn't done with cricket on the domestic front. He participated actively in that year's Big Bash League, representing Hobart Hurricanes. The following year, he was usurped by the Mumbai for the sixth IPL season and was appointed captain as well. In the same year, he was signed by Surrey for two months.

Abhishek De

Ponting's Test career started with 96 against Sri Lanka, and he then also passed 50 in his first Test against West Indies (88 in Brisbane), England (127 at Headingley), New Zealand (73 not out in Brisbane), South Africa (105 in Melbourne) and Pakistan (76 not out in Peshawar). (He also scored 54 in the only Test against ICC World XI in Sydney, making it seven 50-plus scores in his first Test against an opposition.) Despite those strong starts, though, Ponting's Test form was patchy through his first three years.

From 1999 to 2006, though, he was on top of his game as a Test batsman. During this period, he scored more than 8000 runs at a 65-plus average, with 31 centuries in 87 Tests. No other batsman scored 7500 Test runs. From 2007 onwards he wasn't quite as prolific, but he still managed to average almost 41, though his conversion rate of fifties into hundreds dropped drastically.

After the sacking of Steve Waugh as ODI captain in 2002, Ponting was called on to lead the team in an away series against South Africa. Australia won comprehensively and he was consequently made ODI captain ahead of the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup. It proved to be a master stroke as he led Australia to cup honours playing a massive hand in thrashing India in the finals. He repeated the feat in 2007, but was rather unsuccessful in 2011. Ponting then stepped down from the post he held for a long time, paving way for a younger generation to assume the leadership role.

In 2012, Punter, often considered to be Australia's best batsman since Sir Don Bradman, decided to call it quits, with one last appearance in Australia's third Test against South Africa at the WACA, Perth, which was co-incidentally the venue of his debut match too. However, in an illustrious career that spanned 17 glorious years, Ponting’s last Test turned out to be his worst performance since the 2001 debacle against India. But, the veteran wasn't done with cricket on the domestic front. He participated actively in that year's Big Bash League, representing Hobart Hurricanes. The following year, he was usurped by the Mumbai for the sixth IPL season and was appointed captain as well. In the same year, he was signed by Surrey for two months.

Abhishek De

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