Farewell Ponting: You will be missed, but never forgotten!
Monday, December 4, 2012 marked the end of an era when Ricky Ponting walked out for the last time in an international match at the fall of Shane Watson’s wicket – a reality not lost on the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) crowd as they rose in unison to applaud him. Smith gathered his team in a guard of honour and they clapped Ponting to the crease.
After the Australian openers had laid waste the opposition bowling, Ponting would walk in and hammer them into the ground. The 257 runs at Sydney against India and 156 at Old Trafford against England jump to mind immediately. Old Trafford innings was more circumspect as he was fighting for a draw.
Where there were highs, there were also lows and the Australian cricketing fans might best remember Ponting for only the second captain to have surrendered the Ashes three times for such is England – Australia rivalry. Technically, he just lost it twice and failed to regain it the third time.
In the last few years of his captaincy, he failed to inspire the Australians after the retirement of his long time teammates. Woefully, his form deserted him too and he would appear a mere shadow of his former self. There were numerous calls for his retirement but he kept going, for he still thought he had something to give to the team and as the remaining elder statesman he found it his duty to mentor the younger generation.
That changed last week when he realised he was holding back the team.
One of his best ever moments includes a century in the ODI World Cup final in 2003 where he almost singlehandedly won the match and crushed the opposition into submission. The 140 runs, not out against India in Johannesburg in 2003, was a punishing innings from which India never recovered.
Ponting was as tough as they come.
The years mellowed him down a little but he never lost his competitiveness. As many would testify, he was the first one to the training and the last one off even with the ageing body. He brought an uncompromising attitude to the table and always gave and demanded the best.
He commands respect from all those who love this great game and will be remembered fondly for many many years. The game would be poorer without him, but Ponting can, rest assured that he gave it all and owes the cricketing world nothing more.
Ponting is without a doubt Australia’s second best cricketer ever after Sir Donald Bradman. He leaves behind a legacy as vast as 17 years spent in the international arena.
We can expect a new voice in the commentary room soon!
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.