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Posts Tagged ‘Ricky Ponting’

In Pursuit Of the Numero Uno

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

When Ricky Ponting outdid Alan Border to become the highest run getter for Australia and the 3rd highest run-getter in the history of cricket, another debate triggered for the best contemporary batsman in the world. Currently it is between the legendary Sachin Tendulkar and the Australian Captain Ricky Ponting. Let’s go into the statistics of the two batting maestros to find the best among them.

Away matches

Overseas matches are the best to judge the mettle of a cricket player. The alien conditions in the away matches are the ultimate test and lets compare the overseas performances of Ponting and Tendulkar.. Sachin Tendulkar piled up 7165 runs in 146 innings out of the 90 overseas test matches with a hefty average of 54.28 and has scored 24 centuries out of the 42 centuries he scored in total. On the other hand, Ponting scored 4575 in 101 innings out of his 58 overseas tests at an average of 49.19, which includes 16 hundreds. As far as overseas test matches are concerned, Tendulkar holds the edge due to his stability in performance against all teams. Tendulkar has an average of more than 40 against all teams; however Ricky Ponting has been struggling terribly against India. He could manage only a century against India in 21 innings and could score only 438 runs at a measly average of 20.85.

2nd Innings chases in overseas

A key batsman’s performance is pivotal when his team chases a target in the backyard of the opposition. Tendulkar has had dismal performances in the 2nd innings chases in overseas matches. He could manage only a single century in the 34 test matches and scored only 542 runs at an average of 27.10. Ponting has been slightly more successful as he scored 3 centuries in the run chases for Australia with 673 runs at a brilliant average of 56.08.  Ponting’s success can be attributed to his ‘invincible’ team which had geniuses like McGrath and Warne and a strong batting order that helped ease the pressure on Ponting. Tendulkar has been quite unlucky with this, as he had to shoulder the complete responsibility of the Indian team before the arrival of Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly. Apparently, that pressure had taken the toll on him and his performances reflect that.

India Vs Australia

Ricky Ponting has scored 1787 runs in 23 matches against India, thanks to his wonderful performance in the home soil. He averages 70 at home, however in India, his average went down to 20.85, which clearly shows his powerlessness against quality spinners. Harbhajan Singh has been a real menace to Ricky Ponting as the off-spinner dismissed him 10 times in 12 test matches. Tendulkar has had real success in his 29 matches against Australia; he amassed 2748 runs with an average of 56.08 that includes 10 blistering centuries. During his first Australian tour, at the age of just 17, Tendulkar scored a captivating 114 runs at the WACA, which is considered as one of fastest and bounciest wickets in the world, against a quality fast bowling unit with the likes of Merv Hughes and Craig McDermott. This is considered as one of the best batting performances ever and it proclaimed the beginning of a true legend, who eventually got a place in the heart of every Indian.

Above all these statistical analyses, Sachin Tendulkar is couple of steps ahead of Ricky Ponting mainly due to his consistency over 20 years and the kind of discipline and passion he has shown. Ricky Ponting has never been idolized in Australia, mainly due to his wayward character. He has been into several controversies, which questioned the spirit and integrity of his game.

A true legend sets the benchmark and stands as an example for the younger generation. According to MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag and several other youngsters, Tendulkar has shown them the way to cricket with his feats and his hunger to play cricket without any boredom. There is no doubt that Sachin Tendulkar is a model for the young and old alike.

Fall From The Summit

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

When we put the performance of Ricky Ponting as a captain in perspective, statistically, he is slightly below Steve Waugh. However, it hardly reveals the current form slump of the Australian Team. Andrew Strauss, the captain of England has asserted that the Australians no longer have the aura, which their predecessors possessed.

Australia has played 50 test matches till date since January 2005, out of which they have won 31 test matches, which is not a bad conversion, either. However, after the retirement of Glenn McGrath in 2007, Australia has played 25 test matches and they could manage to win only 12 tests with a bleak success rate of 48 %. In this period they even suffered a demoralizing defeat from the hands of India by a whopping margin of 320 runs and suffered innings defeat twice in a duration of 8 months.

Although Australia is going through a patchy period, their captain Ricky Ponting is still considered as one of their best captains ever with 2 World Cup triumphs under his belt. As far as captaincy is concerned, Ricky Ponting has helmed Australia to victory in 38 out of 59 Test matches. His preceding captain and one of the best captains ever, Steve Waugh has led Australia in 57 Tests and managed 41 wins out of that, which is slightly above Ponting’s feat when we go statistically.

Does this analysis hold any logic? To be very frank, it doesn’t.  After Steve Waugh took over the captaincy from Mark Taylor, the Australians evolved as a very formidable team under his leadership. He infused ruthlessness and professionalism in to the team and made the difference. Ricky Ponting was lucky in his early stages as the captain because he had players like Hayden, Gilchrist, McGrath and Warne who were in their peak form and could change a match by their individual efforts. This is perhaps the problem faced by the current Australian team. They don’t have any match winners apart from the seniors and lacks a consistent strike bowler.

Matches have become even more competent as the teams have realized the fact that Australia are brought to earth and are more vulnerable than before. We can perhaps relate this to the great West Indies in the early 90’s but it will be too early to make a call on this. If we go by the lines of Andrew Strauss, Australia no longer holds the ‘favorites’ tag and will face stiff challenges in the 2009 Champions Trophy and in the 2011 World Cup, where Australia defend their title

In quest for the urn

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

The ‘Invincible’ tag was a part of the Australian team till the start of the T20 World cup in England but it was tainting. The exit from the first round of the tournament was probably the last nail in the coffin for the world conquerors. They lack the ruthlessness and professionalism, which had put them at the helm of cricket for a decade and the likes of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne in the bowling and Mathew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist in batting. An encore of 2006 Ashes would be hard; nevertheless they are a strong side who has the potency to defend the ashes urn successfully.

Bunch of rookies

Compared to the squad of 2006, the present Australian team is infused with lot of young talents. The farewell of the greats like McGrath, Warne, Hayden and Gilchrist was instrumental behind this. Phil Hughes was the biggest beneficiary of this transition as he was lucky to get the baggy green at the age of 20, which we can’t see very often in the Australian cricket. Hughes embarked on his test career with a glittering performance against the South African’s, which cemented his place in the Ashes Squad. It is too early to make judgment on his talent and temperament but still he is a future prospect. The next in the list is Marcus North. He has also shown a glimpse of talent against South Africa in the test series with his all-round abilities. He can be a good replacement for Andrew Symonds, who lost his place in the team due to lack of focus on cricket. North needs to put in some real performances in the current ashes to prove the selectors that they aren’t wrong. Andrew McDonald, Ben Hilfenhaus, Graham Manou and Peter Siddle are the other blokes who are waiting to make an impact the Ashes.

Lonely Johnson

It would be a dream come true for Mitchell Johnson as he spearheads the Australian pace attack, where Brett Lee struggling to get back in to his rhythm and Shane Watson nursing a thigh injury. If fit, then Brett Lee would certainly make it to the final XI however, Ricky Ponting wouldn’t be that confident after his lackluster opening spell in the warm up match against Sussex. Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus and Stuart Clark will compete for the third seamer’s position and Nathan Hauritz will come in to the reckoning, if there is something for the slow bowlers. Shortly, Mitchell Johnson will have to take the responsibility of making early inroads in to England’s top order.

Hauritz ≠ Warne

Ricky Ponting is aware of the fact that they lack a spinner of Warne’s quality; however it would be harsh to compare Hauritz to Warne. The simple reason is that Shane Warne is arguably the best spinner cricket has ever produced and Hauritz is an average leg spinner, who doesn’t have the sorcerous abilities of Shane Warne. If Ponting uses him as a leg spinner rather than as a replacement for Warne, then he won’t be disappointed.

Apart from all the aforesaid factors, Ricky Ponting’s form as a captain and batsman will play an important role in this Ashes. He has got more responsibly alongside Michael Clark and Michael Hussey to put a good score for his inexperienced bowlers to defend. His captaincy is definitely at stake after the T20 World Cup debacle and if he couldn’t successfully defend the urn then this ashes would sing the farewell song of Ricky’s captaincy.

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