Monday, October 1, 2012

Ricky Ponting

Ricky Thomas Ponting (born 19 December 1974), nicknamed Punter, is an Australian cricketer, a former captain of the Australia national cricket team between 2004 and 2011 in Test cricket and 2002 and 2011 in One Day International cricket. He is a specialist right-handed batsman, slips and close catching fielder, as well as a very occasional bowler. He represents the Tasmanian Tigers in Australian domestic cricket, the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League, and played in the Indian Premier League with the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2008. 

Tribute to Ponting
Ponting made his first-class debut for Tasmania in November 1992, when just 17 years and 337 days old, becoming the youngest Tasmanian to play in a Sheffield Shield match. However, he had to wait until 1995 before making his One Day International (ODI) debut, during a quadrangular tournament in New Zealand in a match against South Africa. His Test debut followed shortly after, when selected for the first Test of the 1995 home series against Sri Lanka in Perth, in which he scored 96. He lost his place in the national team several times in the period before early-1999, due to lack of form and discipline, before becoming One Day International captain in early-2002 and Test captain in early-2004. 

After being involved in over 160 Tests and 370 ODIs, Ponting is Australia's leading run-scorer in Test and ODI cricket. He is one of only three players in history to have scored 13,000 Test runs. Statistically, he is the most successful captain of all time, with 48 victories in 77 Tests between 2004 and 31 December 2010, while as a player he is also the only cricketer in history to be involved in 100 Test victories. As of 18 July 2012 Ponting has 165 Test matches to his name and during the Sri Lanka series in 2013 could also see him creating history by becoming the most capped Australian player. Steve Waugh, the former Australian captain, has 168 Test appearances. Ponting is an aggressive right-handed batsman known for playing a wide repertoire of shots with confidence. 

However, he is sometimes technically questioned for shuffling across his stumps and being trapped leg before wicket, and thrusting his bat away from his body—especially early in his innings. Despite being widely renowned as the best player of the hook and pull shots in the world, Ponting is equally adept on both the front and back foot. Nevertheless, during the latter stages of his career, the hook and pull shots have often been the cause of his dismissal; though, he has vowed to continue to play them. 

 Former West Indian captain, Viv Richards, who was rated as the third best Test cricketer in a 2002 poll by Wisden, said Ponting was his favourite current-day player to watch, slightly ahead of Sachin Tendulkar. Ponting has often been criticised for his lack of imagination in his captaincy, though many players who played under him say he is a good leader. According to former Australian opening batsman Justin Langer, "He is quite inspirational as a leader and I just never get all the detractors he has. Whether it's in the fielding practice, the nets, the way he holds himself off the field—every time he speaks, these young guys just listen, they hang on every word he says."

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