Archive for the ‘Ricky Ponting’ Tag

Ponting, one of the greats…. Really?

A few days back, one of my favorite cricket writers/bloggers, Samir Chopra did an elaborate tribute to Ricky Ponting at cricinfo after he surpassed Allan Border’s record of most test runs by an Australian. Samir admires his aggression and stroke play along with his very good all round fielding abilities.

While I agree with most of the points made about his batting and him scoring runs at the crucial times, I bag to differ on the opinion of considering him as one of the greats in the game for variety of reasons and one of it is NOT that I am an Indian. Just to make sure, I will not go into who faced more quality bowling among the three (Lara, SRT and Ponting) or the known and well documented weaknesses of all of them.

I disagree to the common notion of separating a person from his cricketing persona. i.e. analyzing the cricketer and a person separately. This is the very reason that Mohammad Yousuf will never be in the Greats list no matter for how long he tops the test batting charts or he keeps making 2000 test runs every year.  Ganguly too, falls short of greatness due the similar reasons. Similarly, in my book Ricky will never be one of the greats no matter how many test runs he goes  on the score or how much better his test average is compared to Lara or Tendulkar.

There are plenty of reasons that keep Ponting away from the adjective great.  I differ on Samir’s opinion that Ricky is not a very popular man in the cricket world because Indian fans make up a majority of the cricket fan base.  Ricky has earned very few friends elsewhere. The recent behavior by English crowds will stand as a testimony to that. Add number (Most?) of South Africans and quite a few of Aussie Cricket fans and ex-cricketers.

Another common voice in the comments section (Quite funny – a few of them) is that Ricky’s achievements are bigger than Lara or Tendulkar because he performed over the years in spite of having an added responsibility of captainship.  In a team consisting names like Hayden, Langer, Hussey, Gilchrist, Clarke, Warne and Mcgrath, one does not need any extra ordinary leadership skills. In fact, Ponting benefited from the efforts Steve Waugh put in to build that team. All he had to do was accept captain’s baggy green and walk onto the field once Steve Waugh retired. Results under his captainship speak for themselves after most of the above mentioned retired. And, over the years, he hasn’t much improved as a captain, as echoed by Jeff Thomson and many other ex cricketers and writers.

I have seen quite a few arguments that another reason behind Ricky’s unpopularity among other cricket fans is the dominance Aussies had over the other teams in the past few years.  Some even argue that it is because they play their cricket the hard way and other teams can not come to terms with it. Now, if those arguments hold true, shouldn’t Aussies and especially Ponting become a very likable bloke now that they aren’t really dominant in the world of test cricket since the past year and half?  Still a very strong team yes, but not the one you expect to win 16 test matches in a row. Also, if it were true, how come Aussie players of this dominant era like Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Shane Warne and Steve Waugh remain popular even amongst new and old rivals like India and England?

To me, what makes Ponting the most unpopular among others is his inability to accept defeat in a dignified manner. He wants to win at any cost, which should ideally be a good thing. But that attitude brings the worst out of him. One can see him arguing with umpires for the catches taken by other team members, arguing with players of the opposition team and the ‘mental disintegration’ methods that seem to be back firing off late with not enough substance to back it up.

As someone eloquently put in the comments, the elderly statesman image will never fit him. To me, he will remain a fascinating batsman and fielder for Australia, but never one of the greats in world cricket.

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Ricky is Surprised by the heckling at Lord’s

There are more surprises for Ricky in the store. Just the way he discovered the ‘spirit of the game’ during first test, this week he discovered he is ‘the bad guy’ with the fans.

LONDON: Australia captain Ricky Ponting admitted on Saturday that he had been surprised by the aggressive nature of the crowd at Lord’s during the second Ashes Test against England.

“I’m not sure why I was so much the bad guy with the fans,” Ponting wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

He goes on further to say this:

“But I guess any Australian captain is going to cop it over here. Some people have said it’s because I’m the last one out of that group of players who had a lot of success in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Perhaps it’s just payback time.”

Not Any Australian Captain, Rick, It is just you. Steve Waugh for one, was the toughest nut to crack, played your favorite  ‘hard but fair’  kind of cricket and was still generally liked all over. You are the only Aussie captain to have lost the ashes in the aforementioned period.

And, it is not just ‘there’ in England.  People across the world can see you arguing with the umpires, bending the rules when it suits you, sledging the opponents endlessly over the years.

What goes around comes around!

If you are following the Ashes 2009 at this time, you must know what i am talking about! It is the Aussies at the receiving end of Poor umpiring decisions. England have snatched aussies’ much practiced art of claiming bumped catches. Ricky had to strike off his endorsed campaign of taking fielder’s word as far as catches are concerned. It has probably to do with absence of Steve Bucknor. Now, to complete the merry-go-round, Prior needs to take a bail off with the gloves and claim a dismissal of Haddin.

Adding some more hype to the most overhyped test series

It is all over the media. End of the first test of the Ashes series, two significant discoveries have been made. Ricky Ponting has discovered (finally) what the ‘spirit of cricket’ is and with that, he also made a sensational discovery that England did not play with the ‘spirit of cricket’. England on the other hand, has discovered that the most significant player in the team is the 12th man.  Some more observations on the first test of the most overhyped test series:

One of the two most overhyped English players, Andrew Flintoff took a wicket!  He certainly did not want to disappoint the English cricket writers like Simon Barnes  so he got a wicket! The mammoth effort he had to put in to get that wicket has earned him an injury and may not play the next test.

Kevin Pieterson, The other one of the two most overhyped English players, kept finding more silly ways to get out.

The sissy of English cricket team, Stuart Broad, tried to get out of that image by trying to shoulder Peter Siddle, but the whining sissy he is, he took care that he did not bump into siddle full on, if he did, he might have ended with a broken shoulder. True to the sissy spirit, when he was declared LBW – plumb as it looked, stared at Umpire like he wanted to rewrite LBW laws all over again. I do not understand, why does this guy get away with all this? Oh wait, I forgot the Broad in his name.

Jimmy Anderson, overhyped for his ‘abilities’ to swing the ball, managed to swing it for whooping 30 minutes in 5 days. But at least he made up with his batting.

4 Aussie batsmen including Brad Haddin made a century, which speaks a volume about the quality of the pitch at Cardiff.

Nathan Hauritz for all the criticism he got for his spinning abilities or the lack of it, put up a pretty decent display and got some wickets to his name too.

Paul Collingwood did what he does the best. Stay put at the middle when wickets were stumbling around him. He looked like getting out once or twice every over but hung in there.

Monty Panesar, on the other hand, never looked like getting out at any of the deliveries and deprived us from the wild slogs we expect every time we see him at the wicket.

Ricky Ponting discovered the ‘spirit of cricket’. Yes I know, I said it earlier, but it is such a huge discovery I will keep saying that.

And the downward slide continues for the Aussies…

And the downwards slide continues for the Aussies. Probably they were taught in cricket academies in the past decade that the sun of Australian Cricket team never sets. But now, they find themselves in the deep darkness and no way out. The world ODI champions knocked out in the first round of t20 WC.

Usually a team in this situation may have questions like – Why are we not finding a quality spinner? Or why are we still playing the type of cricket that won us one day matches 10 years back? What is Ricky Ponting doing in a t20 game? What is Michael Clarke’s role in the team? What are our selectors’ really doing? However, the previous years experience suggests that what instead they might actually be working on is the new “mental disintegration” technique for the opposing teams because obviously, the existing ones have failed them miserably off late.

Such is the mental disintegration really! Chris Gayle slammed them all across the park and then the spinner from Srilanka baffled them to no end with his bag full of spin tricks. Sigh…. Where are the friendly umpires and the match referees? We have a chucker in here.