Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ricky Ponting

As the calls for Ricky Ponting’s head get louder, I would like to present my views on Ricky Ponting. Ricky Ponting is undoubtedly one of the best batsmen of our times. I have had the pleasure (Honestly speaking, as an Indian supporter, it wasn’t a pleasant experience at the time!) of watching him play at close quarters in 2003 and 2007 when India toured Australia. His records speak for themselves. He is Australia’s leading batsman in Tests and ODIs with more than 25,000 international runs at an average of 40-50. I distinctly remember his memorable knock of 96 on debut against Sri Lanka. Two innings that stand out in my mind are his performance against India in the 2003 World Cup (where he almost single handedly took the Cup away) and his innings of 240+ against India in the Melbourne Test of 2003! His captaincy record is extremely good and he is arguably one of Australia’s most successful captains.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, his sportsman spirit leaves a lot to be desired. He is a ruthless batsman and captain who plays to win at all costs! He does not believe in walking. I have no problem with this as it is an individual’s decision. But I have a problem with his philosophy that a batsman must take the word of a fielder for close catches! Remember the Sydney Test of 2008! Remember the times he has berated International players for not accepting the word of a fielder on a close catch. That, in my opinion, is hypocrisy. Is it easier for a batsman to know that he has nicked a ball or for a fielder to know that he has taken a catch cleanly when he is diving and rolling?

His on-field and off-field tantrums are far too many to be listed here. Ponting’s on-field dissent against on field umpires and opposing captains are legendary (Sydney Test 2008, Melbourne Test 2010 to quote a few). I read somewhere that Ponting has presided over more team offences during his captaincy reign than his predecessors Steve Waugh and Mark Taylor. Apparently, Ponting has been forced to pay more than $25,000 in fines since the behavioural measures were introduced in 1992. Of his eight breaches (an Australian record), five are related to umpire dissent.

It is looking likely that Australia will lose the upcoming Quarter Finals to India and Ponting dumped as the Captain of Australia. I think it is high time Ponting is sacked a Captain and is asked to continue as a specialist batsman.

I may be forced to eat my words in the event that Ponting scores a century and wins the game (and possibly the World Cup) for Australia and continues on!

Sai Mahesh
Sydney, Australia

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