Ricky Ponting’s batting average and face

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We choose to remember him this way

Take a look at this face. Tell us you don’t instantly hate that face. You could pretty accurately track the progress of Ricky Ponting’s career by our opinion of his face at various points in time.

It started badly. He made his first Test hundred in his first Ashes innings after Australia had been 50-4, so basically there was a strong desire for smug smile removal from the outset. However, it wasn’t until around 2005 or 2006 that we wanted to plant our fist in his face with the most force.

Was the 2005 Ashes the turning point?

We can’t quite work it out. He’d hit six hundreds in 18 innings in 2003, en route to a higher plane of obnoxiousness and he arrived in England in 2005 with us feeling much the same about him. Looking back, we’re aware that the more Ponting’s Australia lost, the more we warmed to him, but we’re not entirely convinced this phenomenon was really all that noticeable following this series.

Maybe the first intimations of likeable qualities had been identified, but it can’t have meant much as it was only a year later that England were mullered in Australia. This was also when Ponting’s batting average reached its peak of 59.99 after scoring 142 in that bloody Adelaide Test.

Ricky Ponting’s batting average

Let’s try and forget just how fantastically irritating Ricky Ponting could be for a minute and instead consider that average. He retires with an average of 52.21, which is amazing, but leaves him immediately behind Mohammad Yousuf and with a fair few others above him. Had he retired in 2006, he would have been fifth. Crucially, he would also have played 53 Tests more than the most capped player above him.

That speaks of astonishingly prolonged consistency. That Adelaide hundred was his seventh of 2006 in eight Tests up until that point. Make no mistake, Ricky Ponting is a driven and extremely talented man.

Then what?

Then he went downhill a bit. Like many great batsmen, he probably had more confidence in himself than was actually warranted. That protective delusion is what gets them through the tough times, but it’s also what can keep them hanging around, oblivious to the fact that everyone’s enthusiastically clouding the vicinity with liberal quantities of Febreze.

This is when he won us over a bit though. He was a captain and a player who’d never really encountered tough times before, cricket-wise, and it was admirable to see that he wasn’t a shirker.

His limitations as a captain were being exposed and his batting was deteriorating, but in a way this highlighted other qualities. The man is resilient and he feels a sense of duty. He’s also fairly plain-speaking and honest and he loves cricket.

So, it turns out Ricky Ponting isn’t a complete tool. It’s just that he managed to keep this fact concealed from us for the first 14 years of his career.

Some more stuff about Ricky Ponting

Here are some links that we can’t be bothered working into the main text. Don’t feel you have to read them, but they might be welcome if you’re avoiding doing work.


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  1. The trouble with thinking about Ricky Ponting is that there are two of him. He was a part of that great edifice of brilliant cricketers and hangers-on that made up the Australian team of 1995 to 2008 or thereabouts. Warne, McGrath, Gilchrist – these were the players who made that team what it was. Hayden, Gillespie, Symonds, Hayden again – these were the players who were decent players but who thought they were the world’s best because of the team they were in. The question is, which camp does Ponting go into?

    I think, on balance, that he goes into the first camp, the camp of players who were actual greats of the game, who made Australia the team they were, and who couldn’t have just been replaced with a like-for-like also-ran from Grade Cricket.

    However, he is definitely only allowed in that camp for his batting. As a captain, he camps firmly in the other camp, the camp of people whose skillsets could only be correctly executed because of the brilliance of their teammates. It’s no coincidence that as soon as McGrath and Warne retired, Ponting’s ability to set fields and select bowlers seemed to decline rapidly. It’s also no coincidence that it was at this point that The Spirit Of Cricket became so important for him (…to mention every time he tried to cheat).

    So farewell Ricky Ponting Batsman. You will be missed. And also, yah boo sucks Ricky Ponting Captain. You will not be missed.

  2. I’m a little bit sad that he’s retiring. For most of his career I thought he was an obnoxious rat-faced weasel, but after 2009 I warmed to him a bit. I started to see him as more of a rat-faced Australian cricket captain who had lost the Ashes twice.

    Mostly, though, it’s because his retirement makes me feel old. I think only Tendulkar, Kallis, Chanderpaul and maybe Mahela Jayawardene now remain in the category of “people who have been playing test cricket for as long as I can remember”.

  3. Two things. I’d forgotten mark ealham played test cricket. Bowled quite well in that game… And bert has it spot on. Brilliant all time great bat but not always someone who followed the spirit of the game.

  4. Player retirements are always tinged with sadness. Apart from Matty Hayden’s of course.

    What does Ponting go on to do? One-eyed commentary for Channel 9, presumably, slipping into Tony Greig’s seat before it is even cold.

    But boy could that Ponting bat when he was in his prime.

    Favourite memory of him – bloodied but unbowed at Lord’s in 2005.

    Unfavourite memory – whittering on about the spirit of the game after his Pratt-fall at Trent Bridge same year.

    1. Speaking of Matty Hayden, apparently he uses “skillsets” even in sledges.

      Hayden to Raina:
      “Look mate, you are too young to face Brett Lee, since it might require certain skillsets.”

  5. Not being English, I don’t share the popular opinion here which seems to be “I hated him when he did well, but warmed to him as his form eroded”. I never quite cared for his style of batting, but you can’t argue with the records. Truly one of the best batsmen of our era. I won’t miss him, for I am sure I’ll find him again. Possibly in the commentary box blithering away with the rest of ’em.

    Speaking of commentators, here’s one:


    You can thank me later.

    1. Sam, you really shouldn’t be going around fathoming ladies pants. No good will come of it, mark my words.

  6. I don’t think I ever disliked Ponting. He was too good to dislike – much like Warne. But I hated McGrath and thought Gilchrist was a chancer. So there is no consistency in my likes and dislikes.

    Ponting made me buy Kookaburra bats and made me play the pull shot too often (which hurt my average): ‘I am Ricky Ponting.’

    He was a shadow of the player he used to be in the last few years, which was a shame, and cricket will be less exciting without him. But as a sport, it’ll get over it. It got over Denis Compton’s retirement, after all.

    1. How could anyone hate McGrath. He was a metronomic force of nature, a scientific theorem on legs. It’s like saying you hate the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

  7. All the articles I’ve read about this today (two) have suggested that Ponting is right to retire, and that it’s to his credit that he knows when his time is up. If that’s true, how come he’s playing in the 3rd test? Is he worth his place? If yes, surely he’s got every chance of being worth a place in the next series. If no, he shouldn’t be playing in this match.

    1. Bull & Smith’s Joy of Six goes so far as to say he held on to the spirit of the game 99.94% of the time. Tongue in cheek, perhaos but seems like an attempt at revising history.

  8. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to grow accustomed to his new Not-A-Tool status with the upcoming 40 years of Ponting commentary work.

  9. Well it had not been going pretty well for Ricky Ponting for the last half decade or so but he kept trying his luck out there in the field but nevertheless he had made a right decision at last and he has figured it out that there is now nothing left for him in the cricket ground.So what he would have done after the 2007 world cup,he is doing now which I think is after all right.

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