Ponting’s Dropping – a Honour to Him

Though Ponting was not the greatest ever cricketer, he was an excellent leader

Ponting was an excellent captain

Ricky Ponting led Australia in 228 ODIs, a most by any individual as captain
Ricky Ponting led Australia in 228 ODIs, a most by any individual as captain | Source

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Was it right to drop Ricky Ponting from the team?

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An illogical decision to drop Ponting when he won the match for Australia


When Ponting Lost, Nothing Happened. But When He Won, He Was Dropped!

Australian Cricket Board has dropped Ricky Ponting from the one day matches in the tri-series tournament going on now. Ponting’s poor form is cited to be the reason for this decision. It is true that Ponting has not been among runs in the current one day series. In five matches, he scored less than 20 runs – a poor show by any means. That a player who is not performing with the bat was considered fit enough to be the captain of the team is really a paradox. When Michael Clarke was injured because of a hamstring injury, the vice-captain David Warner was elevated to the post, citing his inexperience. Ricky Ponting, who was earlier dropped as the captain after the last World Cup, but retained in the playing eleven, was elevated to that post.

John Inverarity’s Tenacious Innings against Underwood

If the logic at that time was that Ponting possessed more experience and captaincy material than Warner, then what was the need to drop Ponting now at a time when he brought a victory to his side against India? This is a mystery and I am sure that no answers will be forthcoming from the Australian Cricket Board. Again, when Ponting lost the match, he was not dropped. But when he won the match, he was dropped. John Inverarity, the Chairman of Australian selection board, will be remembered forever for his tenacious innings at the Oval Cricket Ground, Surrey in London in 1968. He tackled Derek Underwood on a rain-affected pitch determinedly and doggedly. It used to be joked that if a dog urinates on the pitch, Underwood would exploit it and get five wickets! In those days, wickets were not covered. Inverarity was the only batsman to complete a half century. But his tenacity did not come to the Australians’ rescue as he was adjudged leg before wicket off Derek Underwood in the penultimate ball of the final mandatory over, thereby giving England a victory.

Inverarity Wants People to Remember His Illogic Decision Too

But probably Inverarity also wants people to remember him for an illogical decision to drop Ponting. But Ponting was very magnanimous and accepted the decision without the slightest murmur. He said that his current form warranted his dropping and wished that he participates in the Ashes series in England in 2013. Ponting also stated that he enjoyed playing cricket over the years. Ponting won the World Cup for Australia three times – in 1999, 2003 and 2007. He led Australia to a continuous 29 victories in that period. The cricket world can never forget the joy he gave to the fans over the years. Ponting has millions of fans in India.

Captaincy Stuff Alone Is Not Enough Unless You Are Mike Brearley

One cannot hope to be in the team based on purely leadership skill without batting form, unless he is Mike Brearley. Brearley was retained in the England squad as the captain purely for his captaincy stuff. If Brearley made some runs, England and its fans would consider it as a bonus. Of course it was a different spectacle to see Mike Brearley and Geoff Boycott putting up a hundred runs partnership in the World Cup 1979 finals against West Indies at Lords when they were presented with thunderbolts from the fastest pace men of that era namely Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Colin Croft. When the entire England team was expected not to cross hundred against these fiery bowlers, Brearley, out of all, faced the challenge boldly and squarely.

Venkatraghavan was made to carry drinks

Over the course of his career, Srinivas Venkataraghavan
Over the course of his career, Srinivas Venkataraghavan | Source

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Venkatraghavan Was Made To Suffer Ignominy


Venkatraghavan Was Made To Suffer Ignominy

There had been insults to some other captains also in the past apart from Ponting. The most classical case that comes to memory was the insult heaped on the India’s captain Srinivas Venkatraghavan. Venkatraghavan captained India in the second test at New Delhi against Clive Lloyd’s West Indies team in 1974-75 test series as the regular captain Nawab of Pataudi Junior was injured. India lost that test by an innings. The test is also remembered for Vivian Richards’ fine innings of 192 (it was only Richards’ second test). After the test, Pataudi recovered and took charge of the Indian team in the third test at Eden Gardens, Calcutta on the New Year eve of 1975. When the Indian team was announced, Venkatraghavan was dropped. A captain in the previous test and not even an ordinary player in the next. Was that not an insult to him? If you say yes, now harden your mind to hear this: Venkatraghavan was made the twelfth man and made to carry drinks to the players in that match!!

Bishen Singh Bedi Had To Play Under Gavaskar

One could say that it was a shameful day for Venkatraghavan. But Venkatraghavan bore this shame with courage and tact. He did not mind carrying drinks to the players (in those days, the twelfth man carried drinks unlike today). Venkatraghavan, after retiring from the game, became an international umpire and supervised many matches. There are so many parallels to Ponting’s case of being dropped from the captaincy and made to play under some other captain. Bishen Singh Bedi was dropped as captain and made to play under Sunil Gavaskar. Shahid Afridi, who was the captain of Pakistan in the last World Cup, is now playing under Misba-ul-Haq. Tiger Pataudi was dropped as the captain and was made to play under Ajit Wadekar. Saurav Ganguly met with this fate.

Ponting Had Given Entertainment to Millions of Fans

Whatever the feelings of Ponting, it is really an honour the Australian Cricket Board has given to him to play his last one day match as a victorious captain of the Australian team. This is an honour only few people could get. Unintentionally, John Inverarity has conferred this honour on Ricky Ponting, which he richly deserves for all his contribution to the game of cricket and to the millions of fans all over the world. I wish Ponting a happy and peaceful life after retirement and also pray that his wish to play in the Ashes series be granted.

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Comments 2 comments

mitchnielsen 4 years ago from South Brisbane, Australia

ponting should have retired with grace after world cup loss to india in 2011


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ramkimeena 4 years ago from India Author

Dear mitchnielsen,

I thank you for your valuable comments. I fully agree with your observation.

Best wishes to you,

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