IPL: Indian Premier League 2009

Ricky Ponting plots his final act of revenge


pontingThere is very little that Australia captain Ricky Ponting has failed to achieve in his distinguished career, either as an individual player or as a leader.

There is, however, one major achievement that has eluded him - captaining his country to an Ashes series win in England.

Ponting will get the chance to rectify that over the next few months and he cannot hide his excitement.

“It’s something very dear to my heart,” he recently told reporters in Australia.

Ponting is undoubtedly one of the greatest batsmen to have played the game and could well finish up as the leading run-scorer of all time when he finally retires.

Only Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Allan Border have scored more Test runs than Ponting but the Tasmanian boasts a higher batting average than them all and, at 34 years of age, he still has time to overtake them.

Ponting’s success with the bat has not gone unrecognised. He has twice been chosen as the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Player of the Year and has won the award for Test player of the year three times and the one-day player of the year once.

A prolific batsman, with every shot in the book, Ponting also has an impressive record as captain, though that rarely gets the same recognition.

He led Australia to victory at the last two World Cups and has won a staggering 17 of the 20 Test series in which he has been in charge. His winning strike rate of 85 percent is the highest by any Test skipper who has led their team in at least five series.

Yet, for all his wins, it is one of the three series losses - the 2005 Ashes defeat in England - that still hangs over him.

Ponting bore the brunt of criticism after the Australians lost in 2005 with former international players and sections of the media lining up to attack his leadership credentials.

Ponting was deeply hurt by the criticism but dedicated himself to regaining the Ashes and proving his critics wrong, a feat he achieved when a ruthless Australia hammered England 5-0 at home in 2006-07 to complete their first Ashes clean sweep in 86 years.

It was a sweet moment for Ponting when he was named player of the series after scoring 576 runs, including two centuries, at an average of 82, but his payback was only half-complete.

In 2005, Ponting made a point of absorbing the full pain of defeat and the personal taunts he endured, vowing to win on English soil in 2009.

He took special note of England’s wild celebrations with their players travelling around London in an open-top bus, drinking champagne and meeting Queen Elizabeth.

Four years later, Ponting is back in England, dismissing revenge as the sole motivating force but failing to hide his determination to complete his retaliation for the loss in 2005.

“There’s one thing on my cricketing resume that hasn’t been achieved yet, and that’s being captain of a winning Ashes series in England,” he said before leaving Australia.

“It’s something I’ll certainly be speaking to the players about - making sure we get over that hurdle.”

While the disappointment of 2005 continues to haunt Ponting, it is not a feeling shared by the bulk of his team mates. Only four members of the current squad were part of the last tour group.

Although Ponting has never been able to erase all the bitter memories from 2005, he said he still took satisfaction from knowing his team’s below-par performance had contributed to one of the best series ever played.

“We all realised last time what mistakes we made and we also realised how great a Test series that was to be a part of,” Ponting said. “Even though we lost, it was probably the greatest Test series I’ve played in.”
Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 and is filed under Cricket, General.

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