Ricky Ponting — Ricky Thomas Ponting (born 19 December 1974), nicknamed Punter, is the current captain of the Australian cricket team. He is a specialist right-handed batsman, slips and close catching fielder, as well as a very occasional bowler. He is regarded as one of Australia’s finest cricketers in the modern era. He represents the Tasmanian Tigers in Australian domestic cricket and played in the Indian Premier League with the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2008.
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 151 Tests and 352 ODIs, Ponting is Australia’s leading run-scorer in Test and ODI cricket, with more than 25,000 international runs as of July 2010. He has scored 39 Test centuries – behind only Indian Sachin Tendulkar (50), and South African Jacques Kallis (40) – and third for most runs in ODIs behind Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya.
Ricky Ponting remains the most successful Australian captain of all time, with 48 victories in 77 Tests since 2004 – 31 December 2010, while as a player he has taken part in 99 victories, the most by anyone in history.
One of the finest batsmen produced by the highly rated Australian domestic circuit, Ponting is also regarded as one of the best thinkers in the game. A resume which consists of two World Cup triumphs as skipper and the honour of being captain of the longest reigning number one test team, ‘Punter’ is already in the pantheon of Aussie greats.
At a very young age, Ponting exhibited flair and a will for perfection which separated him from his peers. He debuted for Tasmania at the age of 17 and made an immediate impact. Back-to-back centuries against Western Australia at the WACA – which many regard as the fastest pitch in the world – were a testament to his budding genius. After a few consistent performances, he made his ODI debut for Australia in a quadrangular tournament in New Zealand where he showed glimpses of his genius.
A freak accident to mainstay Mark Waugh enabled him to make his test debut against Sri Lanka where he fell four short of a maiden test ton. Despite a great head start, his attitude and temperament were questioned and he was dropped for the same but each time he staged a successful comeback. Quick feet and an ability to pick the line of the ball early is what makes Ponting special. He is not only a brilliant fielder but has the added knack of affecting run outs. He is also regarded as one of the best players of the hook shot in the modern game. Still, good spinners caused him problems, an area where he still exhibits hiccups.
The diminutive Tasmanian was a part of Steve Waugh’s ‘golden era’ that changed the face of Test cricket. After the sacking of Steve Waugh as ODI captain in 2002, Ponting was called on to lead the team in an away series against South Africa. Australia won comprehensively and Ponting was consequently made captain of the 2003 World Cup. It proved to be a masterstroke as he led Australia to cup honours playing a massive hand in thrashing India in the finals. He repeated the feat in 2007 and still seems hungry to lead Australia in pole position for the 2011 WC. If he does it again, he will be the first man in history to lead his country to three World Cup trophies.
- Only Australian to surpass 12,000 runs in Test and ODI cricket.
- Most number of half centuries and centuries for Australia in ODIs.
- With over 40 wins in tests and more than 150 ODI wins he is the most successful captain in history.
- He holds the record for the highest score of for a captain in a WC final (140).
- He has scored a century against every test playing nation and has the most number of centuries by an Australian, 39.
- He has the most consecutive test wins as captain, a record of 16 shared with Steve Waugh.
- He was named captain in Australia’s ‘greatest ever team’ chosen by some of Australia’s legendary cricketers.
- He was a part of the ICC World XI in Tests and ODIs combined a record 8 times.
- Ponting is one of only two captains to have led their countries to consecutive World Cup wins.
- He was adjudged Australia’s best Test player in 2003, 2004 and 2007 and Australia’s best ODI player in 2002 and 2007.
- He was conferred with the Wisden ‘Australian Cricketer of the Year’ honour for 2003-04.
- Ponting was named as the ICC ‘Player of the Year’ in 2006 and 2007.