'50 Test centuries not out of the question' November 24, 2006

Waugh says Ponting the best since Bradman


"Ricky is the most mentally tough batsman in the world": Steve Waugh © Getty Images

Steve Waugh believes Ricky Ponting will go on and make 50 Test centuries and be rated Australia's best batsman since Sir Donald Bradman. Ponting joined Waugh as Australia's leading century-maker on 32 Test hundreds when he hammered an unbeaten 137 against England on day one of the first Test at Brisbane on Thursday.

"I have no doubt he will finish as our best batsman after Bradman," Waugh wrote in a column in the Daily Telegraph on Friday. "Averages now are probably five to seven runs higher than they used to be because boundaries have been brought in, but I still think Ricky is the most mentally tough batsman in the world at the moment. He has an insatiable appetite for runs and he knows how to get them."

The newspaper also acclaimed Ponting as Australia's best since Bradman. "It is a grandiose tag worn by Neil Harvey, Greg Chappell and Allan Border as each man surged to deeds that made them standouts," the Daily Telegraph said. "The latest always seems the greatest but there seems little doubt Steve Waugh's prediction for Ricky Ponting will come true. In fact he may be there already.

"Statistics are only part of what makes a great player, but if Ponting [59.13] continues on his current rampage, he will soon pass South Africa's Graeme Pollock [60.97] as the owner of the second-best batting average in Test history among the game's elite players."

The Australian agreed and said the captain may be embarrassed by the comparison but he is now in rare and exalted company. Ponting has scored nine centuries in his past 12 Tests, an achievement matched only by Bradman among Australians. The West Indies legend Clyde Walcott once made 10 hundreds in 12 Tests and India's Sunil Gavaskar nine in 12.