South Australia v Tasmania, Ryobi Cup final, Adelaide February 21, 2012

Ponting confirmed for Ryobi Cup final


Ricky Ponting will play for Tasmania in the Ryobi Cup final on Saturday after being told his one-day international career was over. Ponting will join the Tigers in Adelaide on Friday morning ahead of the decider against South Australia, which gives him a chance to win silverware with his state side for the first time after debuting for them nearly 20 years ago.

Ponting's desire to play on in Test cricket means that he needs to take every opportunity he can to keep match fit and in form by playing for Tasmania. That begins on Saturday, in what will be his first domestic one-day match since December 2007, and his seventh in the past decade. The Tasmania coach Tim Coyle said the Tigers would be thrilled to have him in the side.

"He's very keen to play," Coyle told ESPNcricinfo. "He rang me this afternoon to have a chat about the make-up of our team. The team has obviously been going pretty well. We had a conversation around him being available to play. One thing he's not done in his career is he hasn't played in a winning Tasmanian title team. That's really high on his agenda. He's very excited by the fact that he's going to get this chance."

The only domestic final Ponting has played in was the 1993-94 Sheffield Shield decider, the first time Tasmania had reached the first-class final. But it wasn't a memorable occasion for Ponting: he scored 1 and 28 and was part of a side that lost to New South Wales by an innings and 61 runs at the SCG.

Despite having played in the past two one-day finals, Tasmania will enter this game as the underdogs, playing away from home against the Redbacks. And although the Tigers have won six of their eight one-day matches this summer, Coyle said Ponting's return would be easy to accommodate, with Ed Cowan and George Bailey the only Tasmanians to have scored 200 runs in the Ryobi Cup campaign.

"We've actually got a spot in our team that's been thrown around," Coyle said. "A few people have been tried. It is a batting spot that we've experimented with. We haven't had someone really put their hand up and grab that spot. There is a spot in our top six, no doubt about that. It's one area of our cricket that has been a little bit inconsistent at times. To have one of the greatest players of all time, that's a great result for our team."

Ponting's appearances for Tasmania have been few and far between since he established himself in Australia's Test and one-day sides, but when he has returned, Coyle has been impressed with his dedication to the state cause. Although Ponting lives in Sydney, he has refused to switch state allegiances and spends time with the younger members of the squad, passing on what he has learnt in a 17-year international career.

"His commitment to the team stuff is really important," Coyle said. "He commits a lot of time to others in the team. He's also very professional in his own preparation. It's great to sit back and watch him prepare for games. His experience will be a fantastic bonus for us. I'm sure he's very keen to do well. He'll come into this game with nothing hanging over his head, which has probably been an issue for him in the last couple of weeks with the one-day series that he's been involved in."

Tasmania will also benefit from Ponting's presence in their final two Sheffield Shield matches as they aim to move up from third position on the table and earn a place in the decider. Ponting will be available for Tasmania's last two matches, against South Australia in Adelaide and at home to Western Australia, and then for the final should they make it.

"His red-ball cricket has been tremendous this summer so it's a huge inclusion for us to have a player of his calibre coming back into our team," Coyle said. "We're very fortunate. We've gone a lot of years not having him around so this is maybe a little bit of time that was due for Ricky to give some time to Tasmanian cricket. He's had that desire - he's often said that he would love to play more cricket for us. He's going to get an opportunity to do that over the next couple of weeks."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Trey on February 22, 2012, 8:17 GMT

    Exactly Redneck, why can I see Little Ricky coming out with something to prove & spanking us around the park! Oh the injustice of it all; still be worth the price of admission to see ;)

  • Roo on February 22, 2012, 7:28 GMT

    @redneck... You should have gone to AO for last years 20/20 final - it was a sellout, with a great crowd & game with a Redbacks win... What more could you want?... As for the OD final, what a great group of players turning out for the match... Ponting may or may not make a difference to this game - I already was predicting an upset by Tassie (underdogs) before the Ponting news...

  • Marty on February 22, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    Hey Matt So if Cosgrove, Cazzulino, Kruger are better than this Ponting bloke why are they not playing for Australia this weekend. Any of them would be flattered to be set aside for one of the greatest batsmen in the history of the game. You can't possibly suggest it is not better for the team. Having Ed and Ricky open with George in at 3 - the Croweaters will be shattered.

  • hayden on February 21, 2012, 22:53 GMT

    south australia finally get a crack at some silverwear for real cricket and now we have to beat a tassie team with ponting in it and a point to prove! great another year, another disapointment coming up i feel, tough business following the redbacks when you hate 20/20! not much joy at all! @ajayrcs i agree mate. as much as i bag the indians for their hero worshiping masquerading as following the cricket, its going to feel a bit hollow now with no ponting! i will still go and watch but matches will loose that atmosphere of antisapation of hoping to see the legend make another ton

  • Nick on February 21, 2012, 22:28 GMT

    @Matt Even if the guy who get's replaced has done reasonably well, you can't say that Ponting shouldn't play. He will generate interest in the game, has got a much better CV, and has always been part of the team. It is not as if Ponting has just been recruited for Tassie. He has been there for 20 years, but international commitments have meant he has had few opportunities to play. Take out the international commitments, and he has made himself available. By your logic, you could argue that anyone dropped from the international team should not play for their state. The fact is, the guy in the top six who get's dropped has not outperformed the other 5 batsman. A legend of the game is available, and the weakest link has to go for the good of Tassie's title hopes. Nothing wrong with that.

  • B on February 21, 2012, 13:45 GMT

    @Matt, I get what you're saying, but would you really leave him out? Really? @Heath, according to Ed Cowan's book, Ponting puts just as much into his (rare) appearances with Tassie (both the preparation and the match) as he would any international fixture.

  • Ben on February 21, 2012, 13:45 GMT

    hey matt, why don't you read the article clearly before commenting like that, the coach has clearly said there is a spot in the top 6 that they have played with all season & no one has cemented that spot, so it's pontings for the taking, of course there is someone left out, but why would you knock back a batsman like Ponting because you feel, it's a final for christ sake!! @Heath, partly true mate, but it's clear Ponting wants to do it, he love's playing for his side, isn't it obvious by the way he goes about his business? he just love's winning games for his team, whether that be the international or state team, he would love to win silverware for tassie & I being from SA am quite scared that he's going to fire up for the final & score a big ton & bat us out the game & I'm sure the rest of adelaide feel the same!!

  • Dummy4 on February 21, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    We will miss u ricky in ODI's

  • Dummy4 on February 21, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    Not sure I would want to play him on current one-day form, better to pick the players who at got them to the final. Reguardless he is a legend of the game, I hope he goes well if picked.

  • Ajay on February 21, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    It is a huge loss For Australia, fan base point of view. Ponting has same impact on fans like Sachin has, Many people watch cricket just to watch these guys. I supported Australia over India being an Indian just because of Ponting. Sorry Australia now i am backing My country for just being its my country.

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