Ponting the skipper comes of age, finally!


Ricky Ponting

Displayed traditional Australian grit, Ponting led his team to a series win with a match to spare in the seven-match series against India. The Tasmanian had to conjure every ounce of experience acquired over an international career spanning nearly 15 years.

No skipper would cherish a scenario where he has to choose almost a new eleven for every new game, but Ponting faced the predicament with resolve, instilling confidence in a young bunch against a star-studded line-up.

Before this series, there were a few doubts over Ponting’s ability to motivate a group of players like his predecessors Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh did. That he became only the second Australian skipper to surrender the Ashes twice overseas strengthened the voices of his doubters.

But ‘Punter’ performed the role of a motivator with elan, and it was a striking scene to see him interacting with players on the field at every possible juncture.

The young guys responded to his call in an emphatic fashion. Make no mistake, playing in India in front of a highly partisan crowd in unfamiliar conditions could present emotionally taxing moments. Here Ponting made his presence felt and his proximity was a huge source of motivation for youngsters.

“Ricky has been a huge support for us on this tour, and he really kept us motivated,” Doug Bollinger, the stand-out bowler for Australia in this series, said.

Ponting too was quick to admit the contribution of the inexperienced players. “It has been a remarkable victory, especially when you have been struggling to put together 11 fit men for a match. I can’t ask more from this young bunch of players, who have showed wonderful skills and resolve here,” Ponting said. It was not just Ponting the captain that came to fore.

At no point did he let the burden of leading a depleted side affect his batting. He stands second only to Mike Hussey in the list of leading run-scorers for Australia in this series. Ponting has so far amassed 267 runs from six matches at 44.50 with three fifties.

But his team’s performance certainly has pleased Ponting more than his personal achievements. “It is good that I too have been able to contribute. But the character the team has showed with its back on the wall was all the more satisfying.” It seems Ponting has finally begun his journey from a good captain to a great one.

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