ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

India v Australia, World Cup 2011, Ahmedabad

Evergreen Tendulkar inspires Ponting

Brydon Coverdale in Ahmedabad

March 23, 2011

Comments: 109 | Text size: A | A

Ricky Ponting bats in the nets on the eve of Australia's quarter-final against India, World Cup, Ahmedabad, March 23, 2011
Australia captain Ricky Ponting has drawn inspiration from Sachin Tendulkar as he looks to shrug off a slump in his form © Getty Images
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It was in Dunedin, of all places, that Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar first met in an international match. In the far south of New Zealand, two future legends lined up in an ODI; Ponting a 20-year-old who was in his third outing for his country, Tendulkar at 21 already a veteran of India's team, with 11 international centuries to his name. Great things were predicted for both men.

Sixteen years and 76 meetings later, Tendulkar and Ponting are the two leading run scorers in international cricket history, and they'll walk out on to the Motera ground in Ahmedabad, each hoping to end the other's World Cup career. There's every chance they will play again, when India tour Australia for a Test series later this year, but there's also the possibility this will be their final showdown. And their situations could hardly be more different.

Tendulkar turns 38 next month and is in the form of his career. He is the reigning ICC Cricketer of the Year, last year rewrote the record-books by making 200 in a one-day international, and is the No.1-ranked batsman in the ICC's Test rankings and No. 10 in the ODI section. Ponting, 36, is no longer in the top 20 of either list. He is fighting for his cricketing future, but has taken inspiration from the way Tendulkar has rejuvenated his career after a lean patch in 2005 and 2006.

"Sachin has had an amazing couple of years," Ponting said in the lead-up to Thursday's quarter-final. "His last 15 months now have been unbelievable. It's absolutely inspirational for everyone, it doesn't matter if you're my age or 25. If you go through a form slump, if you stick to the things that have worked for you through your career, then eventually things will turn around. That's what I've got to keep believing and keep working on."

Not since Valentine's Day 2010 has Ponting made an international century; in the same period, Tendulkar has scored eight, including two in this World Cup alone. But Ponting knows that a single innings, perhaps even the feeling that comes from nailing a single shot, can turn a man's form on its head, and as he prepared for the knockout game he was keen to watch some highlights of his brilliant 140 in the World Cup final of 2003.

"I think I might watch the video of that over a few times today, remind myself of all the good things," Ponting said on Wednesday. "That's what a lot of our players do, a lot of our players look at themselves and watch other times that they've played well, especially if you're struggling with the bat or the ball. It's good to look back and make sure things are in order. It certainly doesn't hurt to do that every now and then. For me, knowing that I've been able to perform well like that in big games in the past is something to reflect back on."

Australia's problem is that even if Ponting fires, they must still nullify the Tendulkar threat. Centuries against England and South Africa so far in this tournament have shown that Tendulkar is a big-game player as well, not that anyone needed reminding. Ponting joked that the way Tendulkar was going at the moment, he could even have another World Cup left in him.

"We'll both probably be in wheelchairs by then," he said. "He'll be about 42 and I'll be 40, so it'll be interesting to see us running between the wickets in that next World Cup."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 109 
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Posted by Dummy4 on (March 25, 2011, 20:56 GMT)

There is no comparison at all here. Even keeping the stats out there is no match for Sachin as a sporting great. Sheer performance isnt success always, substance is above all that. And Sachin is all about the second "S", the first "S" is the just an output.

Sachin...I seriously pray the team wins this world cup for you...not to say that you arent capable of doing it all by yourself too....just unleash the true Sachin in you...remember your debut and there wont be any looking back

Win or no win, you will always be well respected for all that you were...good luck :-)

Cheers !!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 24, 2011, 22:07 GMT)

I heard a commentator say that great players in a form slump still accumulate runs because they fall back on a great technique in defence. Well Punter does not have a great defensinve technique, he has always been vulnerable early in an innings. I saw him play as a 17 year old when he just broke into the Tasie shield team. He cut and pulled as good as anybody in world cricket, he had a fabulous eye and was lightning quick. He needs to get back to basics and learn how to "grind" an innings, not just blast runs at a run a ball rate. I still think he has a few good years left in him, both as captain and batsman. Clarkey just isn't ready yet for the captaincy.

Posted by Jason on (March 24, 2011, 14:50 GMT)

As an Australian i always find it amusing the way Indians view their cricket, they seem more interested in one player than the team.... No offense yes Tendulkar is the superior batsman at the moment and will probably stay that way. Dont forget Ponting is the Captain of the team and has been for the previous two world cups we won. With a Captaincy comes pressure and responsibility if ponting was just a player as Sachin is you might find he is more more humble and gentle as you like to view Tendulkar. Your right Tendulkar has had a great career but he had a very shirt stint as captain and has tasted little success in tours of Australia and World Cups etc. Tendulkar will be remebered as a great batsman Ponting will be remebered as a 3 time maybe 4 time World cup winning player and captain who plays his best when it matters. All i can say is i hope for a great a game a will enjoy watching them equally apply there art.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 24, 2011, 13:17 GMT)

Ricky Ponting may hope and hope for ever to surpass Sachin, but one thing that Ponting will and can NEVER surpass is the HUMILITY and POLITENESS that Sachin has!! People like Federer and Sachin attain Legend status not just by piling records and milestones, but by their character and they will be remembered for centuries to come!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 24, 2011, 13:05 GMT)

how can a match winner like ponting be inspired by sachin???

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 24, 2011, 13:00 GMT)

Ricky Ponting may hope and hope for ever to surpass Sachin, but one thing that Ponting will and can NEVER surpass is the HUMILITY and POLITENESS that Sachin has!! People like Federer and Sachin attain Legend status not just by piling records and milestones, but by their character and they will be remembered for centuries to come!

Posted by Big on (March 24, 2011, 12:45 GMT)

Sachin did inspire Punter today, look what he did? He got a century after a long time. Now only if he can follow Scahin's mindset of respecting on field players........

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 24, 2011, 12:36 GMT)

Quite frankly most cricket fans outside of Asia see tendulkar as no more than a good bat, principally because he cannot deliver outside of Asia. His performance in Australia has been, well, gutless. Unlike ponting who has the guts and self confidence to bat well anywhere. All that with the responsibilities as captain. Tendulkar as captain, well enough said.

Posted by Peter on (March 24, 2011, 11:38 GMT)

"This has got to be the final" ...??? What a strange remark! At least 3 of the QF pairings would certainlly grace the final. The India-Aus game is one, but has no more claim to that tag than the others. There are 7 teams left, all with a great chance of winning the trophy. Nio single team stands out yet, but on present form SA are a little ahead of the others, with SL & PAK perhaps just behind them. But again - NO single team stands out ahead of the other six. Remember, although India still have 2nd ODI ranking, they qualified for the QF after beating only one other qualifier - the weakest. India are very vulnerable, despite HUGE home advantage. Australia are champions, & in better form since their Ashes defeat, but certainly don't stand out from the other 6. The equality among the 7 is remarkable, auguring well for excellent QFs & semis. The cricket won't suffer at all if India go out but WILL expose the relentless Indo-centric hype the rest of us are having to endure!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 24, 2011, 11:07 GMT)

sachin is a legend ... he is a g8t player..

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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