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March 20, 2013
In a poignant reminder of what the Australian team is missing, Ricky Ponting was deservedly named Sheffield Shield player of the year at the state cricket awards in Hobart.
At the close of another season dominated by seam bowlers, Ponting claimed the award for his 875 runs at 87.50, two votes ahead of the South Australia swing bowler Chadd Sayers and six clear of the young New South Wales seamer Gurinder Sandhu and the Queensland batsman Usman Khawaja.
Ahead of this week's Shield final, in which he has the chance to win a domestic trophy with Tasmania in person for the first time, Ponting was at peace with the decision to call time on his international career late last year.
While he admitted that 2012-13 had not been the season he had hoped for at its beginning, as a poor series against South Africa pushed him towards retirement, Ponting did not give much thought to the idea that he had been hasty.
"International cricket's long passed me by and I've been really excited about giving back to Tasmanian cricket whatever I could this season, Ponting said. "I'm playing a bit of cricket through the off-season as well, which will probably get me over another pre-season, so I'll see how we go as far as playing for Tasmania next season is concerned.
"The decision you make to retire when you do is a very big one and I know I put a lot of time and thought into making the decision that I made for all the right reasons."
As for the recent travails of the Test team in India, Ponting reminded all those present of his own struggles to adapt to the subcontinent in his earlier days.
"The first three or four tours there I couldn't score a run, our players will learn a lot for next time," Ponting said. "I've tried to distance myself from watching too much international cricket since I retired. We're all a bit disappointed the team hasn't played a bit better. Michael Clarke and Mickey Arthur have both been round block a few times and know how to bounce back."
Among other awards, Aaron Finch won the limited overs trophy after a strong year for the Bushrangers, while Nicole Bolton took the garlands for the Women's National Cricket League. Members of the Bulls squad were notably absent from the teams of the year nominated by their peers, something that raised Ponting's eyebrows.
"I must admit I'm very surprised not to see any of their guys in the teams announced here today," he said. "But no surprise for me to see the two teams that you'd say from the outside have the best culture and work ethic around the country find themselves playing the Sheffield Shield final this week."
Sheffield Shield Player of the Year: Ricky Ponting (Tas) - 18 votes (8 games, 875 runs at 87.50) Chadd Sayers (SA) - 16 Gurinder Sandhu (NSW) - 12 Usman Khawaja (QLD) - 12
Limited overs Player of the Year: Aaron Finch (VIC) - 15 votes (7 games, 704 runs at 84.00, SR 98.05) Kane Richardson (SA) - 14 Phillip Hughes (SA) - 12 James Faulkner (TAS) - 12
WNCL Player of the Year: Nicole Bolton (WA) - 17 votes (6 games, 330 runs at 55.00, SR 81.28) Meg Lanning (VIC) - 17 (6 games, 394 runs at 65.66, SR 102.33) Alex Blackwell (NSW) - 16
WT20 Player of the Year: Jenny Wallace (WA) - 27 votes (11 games, 246 runs at 24.60, SR 87.85, 3 catches, 5 stumpings) Alex Blackwell (NSW) - 26 Alyssa Healy (NSW) - 24
Other awards Toyota Futures League Player of the Year: Nick Winter (ACT), Lord's Taverners Indigenous Cricketer of the Year: Nathan Price (NSW), Cricket Australia Umpire Award: Bruce Oxenford, Benaud Men's Spirit of Cricket Award: Tasmanian Tigers, Benaud Women's Spirit of Cricket Award: NSW Breakers
ACA Teams of the Year
Sheffield Shield: Chris Rogers, Phillip Hughes, Alex Doolan, Ricky Ponting (capt), Callum Ferguson, Moises Henriques, Brad Haddin, Ashton Agar, Luke Butterworth, Chadd Sayers, Jackson Bird, Mark Cosgrove (12th man)
Limited overs: Aaron Finch (capt), Phillip Hughes, Callum Ferguson, David Hussey, Steve Smith, Brad Haddin, James Faulkner, Johan Botha, Nathan Coulter-Nile, John Hastings, Kane Richardson, Gurinder Sandhu (12th man)
BBL: Shaun Marsh, Aaron Finch (capt), Brad Hodge, Ricky Ponting, Ben Rohrer, Adam Voges, Tim Paine, James Faulkner, Ben Laughlin, Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dirk Nannes (12th man)
WNCL: Meg Lanning, Nicole Bolton, Alex Blackwell (capt), Jess Cameron, Jodie Fields, Lisa Sthalekar, Lauren Ebsary, Erin Osborne, Jude Coleman, Jemma Barsby, Holly Ferling, Elyse Villani (12th)
WT20: Meg Lanning, Leah Poulton, Alex Blackwell (capt), Erin Burns, Jodie Fields, Lisa Sthalekar, Lauren Ebsary, Sarah Coyte, Briana Binch, Sarah Aley, Molly Strano, Jess Cameron (12th)
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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