Refreshed Ponting hits top gear
Ricky Ponting has been piling on the runs over the past month, highlighted by his authoritative century against England on Friday that sealed Australia's berth in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy. He attributed his superb form to the week's break he took after a draining Ashes campaign.
"I've felt really good since the break after the end of the Ashes series, since I've come back I've felt like I've been batting really well and felt in control more importantly," he said. "When you're out their batting or out there leading the side you always want to feel in control and I've certainly felt that in the last couple of weeks."
During his unbeaten 111 in the semi-finals, Ponting became the Champions Trophy's leading run-getter and also crossed the 12,000-run mark, only the third batsman to reach that milestone. "It is a nice achievement but I had no idea before the game how many runs I had scored," he said. "I hit runs for my country and when my career is over I can reflect on the successes."
Ponting received a round of applause in Centurion as he pulled Graham Onions for four to deep square leg, and then raised his bat to acknowledge the crowd and his team-mates. He sits behind Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya in the list of all-time ODI run-getters. Ponting is the only Australian with over 10,000 runs and has an enormous buffer over the next of his countrymen on the list - Adam Gilchrist is second with 9619 runs.
Ponting also paid tribute to Tendulkar, the leading run-scorer in ODIs and Tests. "The number of innings of his I have been able to sit back and watch, I think he is an amazing player," he said. "Look at his stats and records and it's quite incredible for someone to have stayed in the game for 20 years. He has set benchmarks for guys like me to chase him and get as close as we can. If I had to last 20 years, I would probably be batting in a wheelchair."
In Tests, Ponting is also third to Tendulkar's 12,773 runs with 11,345. Like Tendulkar, Ponting has stepped down from playing Twenty20 internationals for his country.