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Ponting On Track For Mega Stardom

By Orin Davidson
May 23rd, 2008
He shuns the spotlight, frowns on celebrity, but Ricky Ponting cannot maintain that aversion for much longer.

Whether he appreciates it or not, the time has come for the dashing Australia captain to assume the role of reigning world cricket megastar.

With Brian Lara throwing in the towel and Sachin Tendulkar enduring the sunset of his career, Ponting has the talent, accomplishments and flair take over as the torch bearer of super stardom.

Ricky Ponting

Without any noteworthy gap, the Australian has been scoring with the profiency of Lara and the consistency of Tendulkar ever since his career debuted 13 years ago.

The world records have eluded him, but he is poised to be known as one of cricket’s most successful players, not just in Australia but of all times.

The last decade has seen Ponting piling up the runs and chalking up the match victories leading Australia, with a scary inevitability for opposing teams.

And by the time he hangs up his bat, he could be standing unmatched in Test runs with Test victories to go with it.

This week Ponting posted century # 35 that pushed him within 66 runs of the !0,000 club, which set a solid foundation for Australia’s 32nd Test win under his leadership in Jamaica..

Few captains have managed to succeed in the two capacities at the highest level, but Ponting is making it easy like child’s play.

The ease he displays in scoring runs has become legendary, just like Brian Lara did, just like Sir Garry Sobers did or Steve Waugh.

Yet none of the above has matched Ponting’s rate of success, doubling as premier team batsman and captain at the same time.

Lara ended his career with three batting world records but was embarrassed by the poor team results under his watch. So was Sobers who broke the first test batting record over 300 innings runs, and went on to make his name as cricket’s greatest ever all rounder.
Yet he was unable to even come close to match the exploits of Sir Frank Worrell, the man he took over from at the helm..

Ponting succeeded Waugh as Australia’s 42nd and is on track to become the world’s most successful captain, and as his form continues on a blazing path to greater glory, the stroking making right-hander is set to top Lara’s individual Test aggregate of 11,953, sooner rather than later.

At 33 years of age, Ponting’s dynamism in almost everything he does on the field is fast becoming legendary.

Not to mention the 11,026 one day international runs he has chalked up along the way.
There is no more exciting batsman in the game today. Ponting scores at a lightening rate with all the shots in the book, which with his consistency, has him averaging a staggering 58.00 plus in Tests.
And few can question the Tasmanian’s right to be labeled the best model in leading by example. Since assuming the helm he has rattled off close to half of his 35 centuries, which includes that memorable streak of 16 of 17 Test match wins.

To date, no captain has a better average in Test wins. His 31 wins with four losses, which includes two in one series, and six draws, is a mere 10 short of Waugh’s world record 41 wins, which has nine losses.

No doubt, the argument could be made that Ponting did not have to build a team like Clive Lloyd did, from no hopers into the longest regaining unbeaten team in cricket history. Or that he was handed a world champion team by Waugh.

But hey, Ponting has managed to keep Australia a unified team and the egos in check after being getting nod ahead of more established stars Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist.

It matters much too that Ponting regrouped with a vengeance after losing his first series against England in 2005, by leading the whitewash in the return Ashes rubber, copping the Man of the Series award in the process.

And with the loss of Warne, Glen McGrath and Gilchrist, Australia under Ponting does not appear anything less than the juggernaut of old.

When Rodney Marsh announced he not seen a better teenage batsman the first time he set eyes on Ponting, he could’ve won a fortune placing a bet on the identity of the world’s next megastar.

And little did the umpire who denied Ponting a place in the debut Test century club, four runs short of three figures with a dubious decision, know at the time, he was creating one of greatest appetites for cricket tons.
Thirty five big ones later, Ponting is still thirsting for more.

Which is why the Australian ought to take a bow and accept cricket’s megastar badge of honor.
Orin Davidson Column Homepage

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