Whinging Poms? Has the world ever seen a whingier cricketer than Ricky Thomas Ponting?
Sport needs a bit of ‘us and them’ so that you can enjoy it properly, so it was perversely enjoyable to see Ponting spend three-quarters of an hour bending Aleem Dar’s ear. As he stamped his feet with tears rolling down his pudgy munchkin face, it was just about impossible not to feel your support for England swelling by the second – even if you were Australian.
Ponting has ‘previous’ when it comes to bitching and moaning at umpires. He’s got something of the Premiership footballer about him in that he’ll lean right in the umpire’s face, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the decision has been made and will never be changed in a million years.
Aleem Dar knows how to deal with Ricky Ponting. He blankly explained what had happened, effortlessly rising above the situation. Then, later on, he called for a no-ball review when a wicket had been taken, saving Matt Prior. On the outside Dar remained just as blank-faced when the no-ball was confirmed, but on the inside he was pointing and laughing at ol’ Spit Hands, red-faced and fuming in his tatty green hat.
This is a slightly weird feeling, but we really want Ricky Ponting to play at the MCG.
Much as we want England to win easily, beating a side captained by Michael Clarke just wouldn’t be right. Ricky Ponting is the most significant player on either side and it brings the occasion down a notch if he’s not there.
To be clear, this is nothing at all to do with the fact that we want Australia to have a number three batsman who was having trouble scoring runs even when his fingers were intact, because if he plays, we reckon Ricky’ll get runs.
When there’s a crowd the size of the one expected at the MCG, everything changes. Young pretenders go all wobbly and your old gnarl dogs take advantage. Compared to everyone else, Ricky Ponting will be largely unarsed by tens of thousands of people staring at him on Boxing Day.
Is there no limit to Ricky Ponting’s powers?
Pakistan are currently in some disarray. Ponting says:
“I guess a lot of the stuff that is happening around their side at the moment was probably stuff they brought on themselves.”
He then adds:
“If you play really well, you can create that stuff happening around teams.”
Ponting made Pakistan bring things on themselves.
You’re probably thinking: ‘Ricky Ponting is a complete tool belt.’
You haven’t thought that yourself. Ponting’s made you think that.
Kemar Roach didn’t break Ricky Ponting’s elbow, but Ponting must have been mainlining milk for the past six years for that not to happen. He’s David Dunn to Nasser Hussain’s Mr Glass.
Kemar Roach bowls at 90-95mph and when he learns that he should bowl with the wind instead of against it, even Ponting will be in danger of the odd fracture.
You’ve got to love Roach. ‘Do you want to open the batting?’ should elicit the same response as ‘Would you like some company?’ or ‘Do you think you’ve had enough to drink?’
Kemar Roach makes opening the batting as unpleasant as it’s supposed to be – as unpleasant as life in general.
Ricky Ponting must be nearing retirement age because we’re starting to appreciate him.
We read a statistic the other day that about one in five top seven Test batsmen average over 50. That’s a ludicrous figure, but players like Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting were averaging over 50 long before it became fashionable. Watch them play and you know why.
Ricky Ponting’s 150 at Cardiff in the first Ashes Test was the kind of unattainable batting perfection that commentators always demand and never receive because cricketers are actually humans. It was kind of sterile in its flawlessness though; admirable in the same way as really efficient engineering.
If that innings was all about a solid batsman making the right decisions again and again and again, today’s one-day hundred revealed slightly more of the ability that Ponting ordinarily unleashes so watchfully. Few batsmen could mimic the six he hit off Rashid; across the line into the off side, but right out of the middle of the bat. Still fewer could have advanced towards Ryan Sidebottom, got nowhere near the pitch and yet hit the ball so cleanly we swear it disappeared into the clouds.
However, the surest signs that he’s getting on a bit have been seen in post-match interviews where Ponting has revealed himself to be something other than a colossal tool – a fact he managed to keep concealed from us for the first 14 years of his international career.
If you’re worried about us, don’t worry, watching Ricky Ponting flip out is still one of our greatest joys.
Giles Clarke says England fans shouldn’t boo Ricky Ponting. He thinks it shows a lack of respect for a great batsman. He thinks it’s offensive.
Well, you can happily discard Giles Clarke and his comments. Giles Clarke likes being photographed next to a big box of money. Not only that, but he pretty much rubs up against the box like a lonely dog and ejaculates in his pants when it happens. Now that’s offensive.
However, could we recommend that spectators make use of the silent boo? As we’ve told you before, this is the greatest weapon in the critic’s armoury.
Ricky Ponting always reminds us of the spoilt youngest daughter in a story about an upper class family set in the Fifties. She’s short, ridiculously spoilt and on the rare occasions she doesn’t get her way, she shrieks and shrieks and her facial expression becomes unavoidably punchable.
One of the delights of this Ashes series has been watching Ricky spitting out his dummy about once every five minutes. Sometimes it’s justified, like when England’s twelfth man and physio came out to waste time at the end of the first Test. Sometimes it’s unjustified, like when he questions the umpires for about an hour after every single decision against his team. Whichever it is, it’s always an absolute joy to see his little munchkin face crease up as he tries to fight back the tears.
If someone brings out a DVD of Ponting’s finest bottom lip wobbling moments, we’ll get a stack of chicken wings, a raft of biltong and a barrel of beer in and you can all come round to experience celestial perfection.
The big news is that during the press conference, Ricky Ponting went a little bit boss-eyed.
“So one thing I always do is I gotta run myself out early on – it’s much more fun being an Andrew Symonds or someone.”
Don’t fear, people. Ponting is talking about playing Ricky Ponting Pressure Play on the PSP, which is known as Brian Lara Pressure Play in the civilised world.
He also says: “The likenesses are quite remarkable.”
We can only presume he’s not talking about the PSP version.