Teammates, rivals and seniors have their say about the Australian legend.
Ricky Ponting has been one of Australia’s all-time greats. In a career that started in 1995 and spanned 17 years, Ponting found a place in the pantheon of legends both as a batsman and a captain.
Over 168 Tests and 375 one-day internationals, he amassed 13,378 and 13,704 runs respectively and retired as Australia's leading run-scorer in both formats, a record that stands till date.
He was also an astute leader, leading Australia in 77 Tests and 234 ODIs with unprecedented success.
Here’s what some of the greats of his era, and some from before his time, had to say about Ponting.
Walking the talk
Despite making his debut in 1993, Justin Langer's career peaked only after Ponting took over as captain. As an opener, Langer formed a legendary partnership with Matthew Hayden, and also found himself forging plenty of associations with Ponting, who batted at No.3 most of his career. “Ricky was believable, because he walks the talk and wouldn't ask anyone to do something he doesn't do himself,” wrote Langer in one of his columns.
At home in the middle
Sir Vivian Richards was one of the most fearsome strikers of the ball in his time. His mere presence at the crease would instil fear in the minds of bowlers, and the Windies legend felt Ponting also had that quality. “Ricky always made the crease his house. He always has a presence. There is a tenaciousness about him. He walks out and believes. He's not going to be intimidated by no one,” said Richards.
An international cricketer from the start
Greg Chappell, in various capacities over the years, witnessed Ponting's entire 17-year international career and has always been a fan of the way Ponting operated on the field. “In Ponting's case, when I saw him at 17 I thought ‘there's an international cricketer if ever you've seen one’,” Chappell said at the time of Ponting's international retirement in 2012. “To see how he evolved and grew as a cricketer, a captain and a person it was terrific to follow him.”
Small guy, big power
Darren Gough, the England seamer, had many duels with Ponting over the years and has even dismissed the master eight times in nine Tests. However, by his own admission, Gough always found Ponting really hard to bowl at. “Ponting was part of a great Australian batting order, but it was his attitude, his determination, that made him tower above everyone else,” Gough said in an interview with ESPNcricinfo a few years back. “For someone who is quite a small guy, he carried so much power. He was an unbelievable competitor.”
If there was one shot that was synonymous with Ponting, it was the pull. But there has been the odd occasion when he missed and got hit. Like when Steve Harmison hit him smack in the grille during the 2005 Ashes. Ponting was hurt, but one will be excused for missing the signs. “There was a feeling nothing could hurt Ricky Ponting. Nothing,” said Brett Lee. “Think back to when Harmison hit him at Lord's and split his face. Ricky looked down and saw blood, got stitched up and carried on batting. He has that street-fighter mentality, he's a tough character who we saw battle through injury.”
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