Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Ponting is only a pantomime villain

Ponting is only a pantomime villain

The unkind treatment Ricky Ponting has received from the English crowds has prompted the media over here to leap to the Aussie skipper’s defence. The boos and jeers that have generally greeted Punter’s arrival at (and departure from) the crease is deemed to be disrespectful to one of the game’s great players.

However, the stick Ponting gets should not be taken too seriously. It has snowballed throughout the series, thanks partly to his complaints of English gamesmanship at Cardiff and his dissent at his dodgy Lord’s dismissal, but largely because he is seen as an easy target.

Ponting is seen in England as a man with a fiery temper – his reaction to the Gary Pratt run out at Trent Bridge in 2005 is still fondly remembered – and many fans are jumping on the bandwagon of Ponting-baiting.
He is also targeted because of his stature in the game. He is the last real link to the great Aussie teams of the last two decades – a bit of abuse now feels like a way of repaying the past Ashes humiliations that he has been integral to.
Ponting’s standing in the game is recognised. He was warmly applauded on passing Allan Border’s Test run record by English as well as Australian fans at Birmingham and his achievements and talent do not go unnoticed. English spectators know they are watching one of the great batsmen.
He is right to wear the treatment as a badge of honour. We know he is the big wicket in the opposing team and the booing can be taken as a sign of respect. Ponting would much rather have the jeers than the journalists’ sympathy.
However, the jeers will become cheers at the Oval. Like all pantomime villains he will be applauded off the stage. Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne – no strangers to a bit of stick in England - were given a standing ovation when they signed off at the Oval in 2005 and Ponting, who will surely not tour this country again, will get the same treatment.

Make sure you have a look at the Fourth Test odds (http://betting.betfair.com/cricket/2009-ashes/ashes-betting-preparing-for-life-after-freddie-sta-210709.html) before any Headingley Test betting (http://betting.betfair.com/cricket/2009-ashes/).

1 comment:

  1. I don’t worry too much about derision like Ponting has been getting to be honest. His reactions at times can be too much from a captain so it is to be expected.

    It’s so right about him being the link the period of dominance and he really played a hand in that too. I was looking over score cards last night of tours to Pakistan and West Indies in the last ‘90s when he was batting at 6 and he contributed immeasurably. Interestingly Macgill features a lot too: often with Warne in the same 11 and he got bags of wickets: 7 for on one occasion while Warne picked up 1.

    We all know at the end of the day Ponting will be remembered most for his batting prowess as evidenced by bowling sides reactions when they get his scalp: treasured like Lara’s was and Tendulkar’s still is. The guy has all the shots but few as captain. It should be recognised, though, that he has overseen change not dissimilar to the exiting of Chappell, Lillee and Marsh and we saw what happened to Aus cricket for a while after that. We certainly didn’t sink as far down as poor Border’s sides! Let’s hope we never have to see such poor planning again. To give CA its due I think it’s doing better on that front as Clarke is filling Ponting’s shoes in more ways than one. Lee stepped up in Mcgrath’s absence, Katich was reborn. The big gap is obviously a majestical spinner which none of us thought would be filled – and it hasn’t. There really isn’t too many of them around the world though: especially outside of India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

    I’ve said that this time next year Ponting will be retired and I stand by that. I think this gives him time to find a balance of 15 players who can make the grade before handing over to Clarke. It’s then up to blokes like Hilfenhaus, Siddle, Johnson, Hughes, Watson and Clarke to develop consistency in performance. Perhaps we can accept that we probably won’t see anything like the Taylor and Waugh sides for another 15 years (maybe never?) but we can expect teams that win in India: this final frontier will probably indicate when we’ve arrived back near the top of the tree.

    All the best Stoph, take care matey.