Australia v South Africa, 3rd Test, Perth, 4th day December 3, 2012

'All of us will miss Ricky' - Smith

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Graeme Smith has declared Ricky Ponting the opponent he has most respected during his career, and said South Africa's forming a guard of honour for Ponting was never in doubt. The two men were opposing captains in 27 international matches, including some classic Tests, and met each other 41 times in total, and they shared a poignant moment as Ponting, while walking to the crease one last time, shook Smith's hand while the guard of honour was in place.

"It was just something that needed to be done," Smith said. "For me, having played against Ricky so much over the years he's certainly the player that I respect most that I've played against, for his intensity and the way he has played the game, the runs he has scored against us. He has always been so competitive. It was just a sign of respect from us for someone who has given the game of cricket so much.

"All of us will miss Ricky as an opponent. Hopefully now him and I can catch up for a beer. I'm sure a few of us would love to do that. Him and I have got to know each other fairly well over the last few years, whether it's sitting on planes or catching up after series. It will be nice to have that relaxed nature now and have some time together."

Although the South Africans came out on top in Ponting's farewell match, it wasn't always the case. Ponting scored eight Test centuries against South Africa and made 2132 runs against them, the most of any player in the modern era and behind only Denis Compton and Wally Hammond on the all-time list. Smith said there were a number of standout moments, and he noted that captaining against an in-form Ponting was nearly impossible.

"I think there's a few innings in the early days [that I will remember]," Smith said. "We ended up winning the Test match, but the 100 and 99 in Melbourne on Boxing Day [in 2008], there was another time at the Wanderers when he got runs and the wicket went around all over the shop.

"There were moments when you thought it was really tough to bat and he just took the game to you and played in a way you haven't really seen other people play. The tempo with which he played the game as a batter, as a captain it was really interesting to try and manage. I wasn't part of it but I think that World Cup knock at the Wanderers has got to rank as one of the top ones that I have watched."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • indiabadri on December 4, 2012, 16:05 GMT

    What a player. Always plays for team and tremendous fielder. Miss u Ricky..........i rate him top of Lara, sachin and all others........

  • dummy4fb on December 4, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    Great Man ricky i wil miss u all my life ,and i consider myself lucky to be born in your era and to watch ur batting for last 10-12 yrs.

  • highveldhillbilly on December 4, 2012, 9:41 GMT

    As a Saffa, I truly feared Pointing more than any other batsman I can remember. The were times between 2003 and 2006 when we was absolutely golden and he managed to kick us really, really hard when we were threatening to fight back.

  • moBlue on December 4, 2012, 7:20 GMT

    i am not a ponting hater. i think ponting was the king of ODI cricket, no question! but in test cricket, i have my doubts about whether he was the best! second only to bradman? really? maybe in terms of numbers among oz players, he may be...

    i am from IND but i don't think sachin is the best contemporary batter, though i adore sachin! statistically (in terms of his average), and considering he is an all-rounder, i would rank kallis above sachin and lara, and then ponting [and probably sanga and chandrapaul when they finish]...

    the reason is that kallis, sachin and lara had no weakness at all! ponting did. he was weak against spin. check his record in IND. in 22 innings, he scored one century and averaged 25 or so...

  • dummy4fb on December 4, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    One of my favourite player. Ricky has been outstanding through out his internatioal exposure. I remembered his innings of 197 against Pakistan at Perth in 1999 when he was failing in all the previous two test matches against Pakistan. He and Justin Langer took the game away from Pakistan.We will not see another Ricky Ponting ( PUNTER ) in cricket. My best wishes to him.

  • dummy4fb on December 4, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    One of my favourite player. Ricky has been outstanding through out his internatioal exposure. I remembered his innings of 197 against Pakistan at Perth in 1999 when he was failing in all the previous two test matches against Pakistan. He and Justin Langer took the game away from Pakistan.We will not see another Ricky Ponting ( PUNTER ) in cricket. My best wishes to him.

  • dummy4fb on December 4, 2012, 6:05 GMT

    i salute u sir ricky thomas ponting....u r greatest of all time..

  • Mitcher on December 4, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    On ya Ricky! Unapologetically tough cricketer. I doubt anyone, including himself, would disagree he pushed the boundaries more than once - but do we really want cardboard cutout cricketers? Equally, my respect for Graeme Smith grows every day. A great leader (if limited tactically), a quality cricketer and a thoughtful and intelligent individual of the pitch.

  • vj_gooner on December 4, 2012, 4:57 GMT

    Well and truly the best since Bradman! .. The way in which Ponting carried himself was awesome! The arrogance & the ruthlessness always stood out!

  • dummy4fb on December 4, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    I hope an opposing captain does to Smith what he has done to Ponting. It is these gestures and finer moments that fans and cricket loving people all over the world want to remember.

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