The question is not if but when for Ricky Ponting. Australia’s most decorated batsman behind Sir Don must face the reality of retiring before the firing squad catch him. And quickly. Ponting’s rough stretch with the bat has continued in South Africa with scores of 8,0 and 0. Mind you the rest of the Aussies are struggling to flatter.
Ponting embodies Australian captains of the past- self-assured, single minded in his pursuit for success and amazingly stubborn. These three qualities made him what he is today. He is a champion, game-breaker and a winner. Perhaps, his stubbornness has become the sword that he will fall on.
Ponting was a wonderful hooker and puller of the short ball when he stood at the top of the world. Now, at age 36, his reflexes have slowed and the rising short ball is now his nemesis.
Ponting’s first mistake was not making an adjustment to his shot selection when he still had plenty of runs on the board in the 2009-10 Australian summer.
A young and confident Kemar Roach arrived to the Australian shores with one simple plan- rip Australia’s second most decorated batsman’s head off. Roach enjoyed some success and more importantly, Ponting’s new weakness was exposed.
Punta’s struggles have continued ever since. And his stubbornness remains solidified in his psyche. He continues to play the hook and as a result he continues to fall victim to the short ball.
Despite calls for his immediate dismissal from the Australian team, he deserves one last Australian summer wearing the Baggy Green. Sometimes there is room for sentiment in sport. If not for Ponting’s sake, for all the fans who have been privileged watching one of the all time greats of the game. The fans deserve to see him walk out to the middle with his typical strut under the Aussie sun for one last time. He is still able to score the occasional half century and perhaps even a century so that he does not disgrace himself. This Australian summer should be and will be his last.