India v Australia, 1st Test, Mohali

Tendulkar's recent form an inspiration - Ponting

ESPNcricinfo staff

September 30, 2010

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Ricky Ponting puts on his helmet before a session at the nets, Mohali, September 29, 2010
Ricky Ponting: "I'm as excited as I've ever been in my cricket career about what lies ahead" © AFP
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These are uncertain times for Australian cricket. After more than a decade of dominance, the No. 1 ranking has been surrendered, and the passing of a golden generation has seen losses to India and England, and an unprecedented home defeat against South Africa. Ricky Ponting's own form has been patchy, and the gap between him and Sachin Tendulkar, both in terms of runs and centuries, has widened dramatically over the past year. After a long break following the series against Pakistan in England, Ponting is hoping both he and the team will emerge stronger.

"It's my responsibility to make sure that the Australian cricket team is the highest-ranked team that we can possibly make it," he said. "None of the guys in our team at the moment are proud of the fact that we're the No.4-ranked team in the world. We've got better personnel in our side at the moment to make that ranking climb higher over the next 12 to 18 months.

"As far as me chasing Sachin ... I was actually expecting that he might have retired before now [smiles]. He's 37 and obviously still playing very well. There's inspiration for everyone around the world to take from what he's done over the last 12 months. Batting doesn't get any easier, but to see someone like that have the 12-month period that he's had ... it doesn't matter if you're 35 like I am, or 25 like some of the other guys in our side, it certainly gives you something to aim for."

For the man himself, the next fortnight presents an opportunity to improve a decidedly modest record on Indian soil. "It's a place that I've never mastered," he said candidly. "I've never mastered batting in these conditions. I felt that in the last series over here, I took some really big strides in becoming a better player on the subcontinent. My first hundred in Bangalore at the start of the last series was satisfying and I made 80-odd in Delhi. There were some positive signs for me last time and learning a bit more about the conditions and the Indian bowlers gives me a chance to hopefully have a good series."

There's still some uncertainty over whether Harbhajan Singh, his chief tormentor in these conditions, will play the first Test, but Ponting was expecting nothing less. "I'm not sure if he's doubtful," he said with a grin. "I understand that he's hurt his ankle, but the day he apparently did that was the day our game finished at Chandigarh. He was down bowling centre wicket that afternoon. He trained today, so it might just be a bit of a smokescreen. They might just be trying to sneak one past us there. I'd expect him to play. But if he doesn't, then they've got a couple of very good spinners, [Amit] Mishra and [Pragyan] Ojha, who will come in and do a good job for their side."

When it was suggested to him that some felt he was over the hill, he responded with laughter. "I'm not sure if I've heard it put that way just yet. The fact is that I'm 35 and I know there's been a bit in the papers over the past couple of days about maybe being a little bit past my best. We'll see what this series holds, and what the Ashes hold. I know that I'm feeling better about myself and about my game than I have in a long time. Having a long break before we came gave me an opportunity to sit back and really think about the things I needed to work hard on to become a better player. That's all I can control. I can control how I train, how I prepare and how well I play. That's in my hands."

 
 
Retirement for me is the furthest thing from my mind at the moment. It's about becoming a better player than I was last year and I certainly feel on the way to doing that. The finish line for me is not even in sight yet
 

There's every likelihood that this will be Ponting's last Test tour of India, but he was adamant that such thoughts were far from his mind in the build-up to this series. "I don't really know what the FTP [Future Tours Programme] is at the moment," he said. "It changes quite quickly, doesn't it? I guess in the last 10 years we've played, we've made a tour to India most years.

"I honestly don't know if this will be my last tour or not. I haven't thought about it. Retirement for me is the furthest thing from my mind at the moment. It's about becoming a better player than I was last year and I certainly feel on the way to doing that. The finish line for me is not even in sight yet.

"I've got some much exciting cricket to play over the next six to eight months, with this tour, the Ashes back in Australia and then a World Cup soon after. As an experienced player, it doesn't get any better or any bigger than that. I'm as excited as I've ever been in my cricket career about what lies ahead. If I happen to get through the next six or eight months playing very good cricket, then who knows? I might be back here again for one more go."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (October 1, 2010, 5:45 GMT)

Shashikaran, Sachin decided to act in a movie? In which world are you living? The Little master himself cleared all doubts saying he is not acting in any movie. He is a player and will play better than Ponting as he has always done.

Posted by Force01 on (October 1, 2010, 5:35 GMT)

Ricky Ponting is a terrific batsman and a legend of the game. To call his attitude into question just because he is singing praises about Sachin is juvenile.

Posted by Aussasinator on (October 1, 2010, 4:40 GMT)

Vijay should have been in place of Gambhir in my opinion.

Posted by vkilam on (October 1, 2010, 4:29 GMT)

It would be good to get a word from McGrath about the series result this time around. No prizes for guessing what his prediction would be.

Posted by evenflow_1990 on (October 1, 2010, 2:30 GMT)

@puneet_cricinfo ... very good ... =D

Posted by smalishah84 on (October 1, 2010, 1:40 GMT)

Aussies don't seem to be their usual arrogant selves this time around. Something tells me that Aussies will take it. Winning will be about who takes the pressure better. Aussies have been good at this. I have my money on the Aussies to win it. I wish the best of luck to both teams.

Posted by   on (October 1, 2010, 1:03 GMT)

whenever u see punter talking 'bout the master blaster ....he only say that ; "he might had retired till now as i think" Tendulkar plays cricket bcoz it's his passion not he is playing for money. In 2004-2006 it was a time when tendulkar was struggling for his form & other batsman like Pointing,Lara,M.Yousaf & kallis were scoring centuries but today time has change.........the master has re-birth again & i hope he plays until 2015..........I think its time for Sachin to return the favour & score lots of centuries & runs to extent the lead more against him. So, what if Destiny & Time wasn't with Tendulkar in 2004-2006 But Today it is with him & not with with punter.........This is what life is all 'bout .......Today if u 've it might be u don't 've it tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by redneck on (October 1, 2010, 0:53 GMT)

wonder what odds ponting will get for man of the series, seems like a good bet to me after reading this. i think you indians are a bit off the mark thinking this is australia and ponting lacking confidence and showing weakness. this is more about showing india the team does respect its opposition and prehaps showing a bit more modesty to fix some of the misconceptions that exist about the australian cricket team over there. if i were indian i would be quietly worried about this series. australia have cut their pre match crap talk and that generally suggests the aussies are focusing at the task at hand.

Posted by balajik1968 on (October 1, 2010, 0:24 GMT)

I think Ponting seems to have matured. Maybe the defeats and the pressure of having to rebuild the team where several players have left the scene seems to have sobered him. But honestly I don't feel he can catch up with Tendulkar. He has 39 centuries to Tendulkar's 48. Tendulkar could possibly finish with around 52 centuries. That would be tough for him. I am not taking anything away from Ponting. I think he is one of the finest batsmen of the game. But somewhere I feel he is nearing the end. Who knows, he may enjoy a revival like Tendulkar, but I doubt it.

Posted by   on (September 30, 2010, 23:34 GMT)

Very honest, modest and genuine Ponting here. I have noticed that since the recent Ashes, Pontinig has really matured and is a more respectable player/captain for me. Him showing respect for Sachin, the greatest batsman after Don, is well deserved and he gets the points for that too. It used to be Sachin Vs Ricky for me but as a cricket lover, its Sachin "and" Ponting now...the best players (incl Lara) of the modern era and I can proudly say in future that they played during my time..

Posted by fyrestorm on (September 30, 2010, 22:50 GMT)

The excess of modesty from both sides is disconcerting to say the least. Passion and anger need to be brought to the fore to kickstart a quality series. And the world needs a hard fought Test series to wash away the rubbish that has occurred over the last month.

Posted by tendilya on (September 30, 2010, 22:40 GMT)

Mr Ponting, u r almost 36, not too far behind in age (smiles), u could also be retiring any time especially with the way your form is going...

Posted by zxaar on (September 30, 2010, 22:10 GMT)

@Athar "The thing is i dont know why people say Ponting cannot match Tendulkar...Ponting's stats proves that...Ponting is second to Tendulkar and well ahead of Lara in terms of statistics...Ponting has 39 test hundreds." ------------------- This is why Tendulkar has 48 centuries. Difference is nine. Their age difference is 2 years. So if they both retire at same age ponting would have to cover this deficit of 9 centuries. Roughly 5 per years. I do not think ponting could do it and with this form there is no chance. About highest runs in test cricket ponting has good chance but if he failed this tour and next ashes he might be dropped. After ponting i do not see anyone touching sachins records because of lack of test cricket.

Posted by sri1ram on (September 30, 2010, 21:54 GMT)

Hmmm, sure looks like the shoe is on the other foot. Do you think the Ozzies will remain 'ooh so modest' and diplomatic with one win under their belt? Nope. It is incumbent on India to draw first blood, give no quarter on the field and puncture the "never say die" spirit, if at all in this team. The ozzies know that the current team is a second string team compared to their other teams and they will go all out on the field, so it is necessary for India to think about previous series and be readier than ready!

Posted by lazy.boy on (September 30, 2010, 21:37 GMT)

i think they know this time they (australia) may loose again and dont want to brag before the tournament .. so that they at least dont loose face at the end of the series.. or it might as well be that they are really concentrating on their game and want to do better and let their game do the talking this time..

@puneet_cicinfo: lol .. good one dude.

Posted by crick_admirer on (September 30, 2010, 21:08 GMT)

@GlobalCricketLover - if Ricky has to deal with Captaincy pressure, then Sachin has to deal with pressure from unfair and enormous expectations of a cricket-crazy nation... i would say both would cancel each other out... at the end the day, Sachin has more grace, control, technique and shots than Ponting... and he always had to deal with pressure situations when the openers get out cheaply...

Posted by   on (September 30, 2010, 20:51 GMT)

After Sachin decided to act in a movie, Ponting dint want to stay behind... so he has decided to show some acting talent here... Nice try Ricky... You are better off on the ground... Stick with your game… We all know… modesty is not you Good luck to u and ur team.. hoping to see another great battle of Cricket in the next fortnight... I feel it will be a tough battle for India, but they will emerge Champs once again... Go India!!!

Posted by DazzKeagsz on (September 30, 2010, 20:48 GMT)

@GlobalCricketLover I respect fully what you are saying, but bare in mind that some people play better under the added pressure. Some people strive even higher over being a leader as Ponting has done, and Sachin was not able to do, but to say that if Ponting was merely a batsman he would focus a lot more on his batting and thus have better statistics is not necessarily true. It's the same as some players play a lot better when they have a crowd to perform for, rather than an empty stadium. I know I was one of those players who loved having a large crowd to play under because I used to perform better. Some people just excel in pressured situations moreso than they would in unpressured situations.

Posted by puneet_cricinfo on (September 30, 2010, 19:53 GMT)

September 30, 2010 Ponting:"As far as me chasing Sachin ... I was actually expecting that he might have retired before now [smiles].

September 30, 2014 Ponting:"As far as me way behind Sachin ... I was actually expecting that he might have retired before now [crying].

Posted by Noni on (September 30, 2010, 18:00 GMT)

This is not Ponting like. To me it seems a drama of playing down. This may be a part of some mind game. I don't believe a word from him. All I know is he is a dominating batsman and can change the game all by himself. That is too his batting credit but no faith on what he says and I don't think he likes to play in India. He is second to Sachin and can come very close to Sachin if he continues to play until 38. Also Bhajji is also hyped. Everybody knows his bowling now. The only key bowler could be Ojha or Mishra if they get a chance. Ishant, Zaheer and Sreesanth all are moody and depends when and where and how the conditions are. If the ball is swinging and pitch is helping we should get Praveen Kumar in. All the best India. Most likely batsmen will drive the series.

Posted by Noni on (September 30, 2010, 17:59 GMT)

This is not Ponting like. To me it seems a drama of playing down. This may be a part of some mind game. I don't believe a word from him. All I know is he is a dominating batsman and can change the game all by himself. That is too his batting credit but no faith on what he says and I don't think he likes to play in India. He is second to Sachin and can come very close to Sachin if he continues to play until 38. Also Bhajji is also hyped. Everybody knows his bowling now. The only key bowler could be Ojha or Mishra if they get a chance. Ishant, Zaheer and Sreesanth all are moody and depends when and where and how the conditions are. If the ball is swinging and pitch is helping we should get Praveen Kumar in. All the best India. Most likely batsmen will drive the series.

Posted by ThetigersofCricket on (September 30, 2010, 17:40 GMT)

It will be great competition gonna interesting. Tendulkar vs ponting Sehwag vs Watson Gambhir vs Hussey Dravid vs Clark Katich vs VVS Laxman It's gonna very interesting series but india has home advantage so i think india gonna win against Aussies

Posted by   on (September 30, 2010, 17:13 GMT)

Well good to see him praising Tendulkar. Also Athar, making sense of the numbers is crucial. Tendulkar had a bad period from around 2003-06 in Tests (He still averaged 90+ in 2004) that is when Ponting and others caught up with him to some extent. Ponting on the other hand was prolific during 2002-06, but pretty ordinary otherwise. His numbers are still impressive, but need to be seen in prospective.

Posted by Aussasinator on (September 30, 2010, 16:04 GMT)

Too much of modesty this time around as I mentioned earlier. This could be ominous too. Ponting and the Aussies could be concentrating more on playing than talking this time, which is bad news for India. The Aussies under Ponting are more vulnerable when they brag before hand. I dont quite like this serene approach!

Posted by GlobalCricketLover on (September 30, 2010, 15:18 GMT)

i am not if one should even try to compare sachin with ricky. Sachin has played mostly the role of a "batsman" whereas Ricky has been a "bastman + captain" for quite a few years. We all know what captaincy did to Sachin. If Ricky was just a batsman i am sure he would have a lot more focus on this batting and his stats would certainly be much better than they are now. A captain has a lot to deal with- media, the board officials, selectors etc for every series - day in, day out. I think we should respect each of Sachin's and Ricky's contribution to cricket and just enjoy both. If at all one wants to compare, they should compare a batsman to a batsman or a bastman/captain with another batsman/captain.

Posted by K-amps on (September 30, 2010, 15:16 GMT)

Ponting should play another series against Pakistan to bolster his confidence.

1) They will drop him 3 times per innings and he can get more double centures 2) Aamer/ Asif is no more with the team, so he can whack Razzak & co.

Ofcourse this is all tongue n cheek guys, don't point the hate guns at me please :-)

Posted by denza on (September 30, 2010, 15:00 GMT)

there is a very thin line that differentiates excellence form genius. so is the case here.

Posted by Ramesh-IT on (September 30, 2010, 14:46 GMT)

@TrexTrainer, come on, mate. i completely agree with you. the ashes is a totally overrated series which will prove to be disastrously onesided without any excitement.

Posted by   on (September 30, 2010, 14:20 GMT)

Statistics do provide some insight into where Ponting and Tendulkar stand at this point in time, if anyone says its because of captaincy issues that ponting's for has gone south, then it could be true as Australian team has seen complete reshuffle and there is more pressure on ponting, but its the international level and pressure comes with it, one has to live with it, ponting has the opportunity to shine with bat as pitches will be flat, if he scores it will surely prolong his career otherwise Clarke is waiting to take his place. Good luck to both teams.

Posted by TBrady on (September 30, 2010, 14:13 GMT)

I didn't know Sam Trammell had a twin in Australia.

Posted by TBrady on (September 30, 2010, 14:12 GMT)

I didn't know Sam Trammell had a twin in Australia.

Posted by   on (September 30, 2010, 14:11 GMT)

Wait and see.....................

Posted by Sidhu1919 on (September 30, 2010, 14:04 GMT)

Pontin b8r gives up thinkin abt chasin Sachin bcoz sachin is miles ahead of him as a player&an individual.Sachin is still by far the world's best batsman and Pontin is havin the worst possible time of his carreer.Sachin has had 2 bear more pressure thn Pontin.2 bear the weight of a billion ppl 4 2 decades and perform and win matches almost single handedly is an achievement indeed.dravid,Ganguly and laxman ve contributed 2 takin India 2 the summit of the rankings.Bt its Sachin's and Kumble's contributions tht stand out.Pontin was a gr8 player durin his prime.But his form has dipped 2 an all time low.A 2nd innings like what Sachin is havin does'nt happen 2 many players.Very few or rather hardly any player has enjoyed such a come back 2 form like Sachin.Pontin has won 2 WCs 4 aussies with a top side whch had gr8 players throughout the line up and benches.Sachin nvr won a WC but has emerged the best player in 2 WCs.unfortunately 4 him and India,India nvr had a team tht cud win 1.

Posted by stFleming on (September 30, 2010, 13:40 GMT)

The thing is i dont know why people say Ponting cannot match Tendulkar...Ponting's stats proves that...Ponting is second to Tendulkar and well ahead of Lara in terms of statistics...Ponting has 39 test hundreds...Lara 34...Ponting has crossed 12000 test runs and is the only second man in the history to achieve that feat...Apart from this Ponting's record every where is awesome..He was named cricketer of the decade recently in both forms of the game and was well ahead of Tendulkar and Lara in both forms of the game....Tendulkar reached 12000 test runs in 247 innings...Ponting also completed 12000 runs in 247 inngs...So no one in this world can say that Ponting cannot match Tendulkar...Ponting has a better record than Lara...Only Ricky Ponting is there who can break Tendulkar's records...Dont think Kallis will be able to match with Tendulkar and Ponting....

Posted by spyblogger on (September 30, 2010, 13:30 GMT)

talk talk n more talk.......just do the bat thing on the field...haha...

Posted by gung-ho on (September 30, 2010, 13:11 GMT)

Who say's Ponting isn't improving? In the past couple of years, he has managed to get a new head of hair - a feat Tendulkar doesn't want to emulate.

Posted by shashikant5374 on (September 30, 2010, 13:08 GMT)

good...........sachin really is inspiration 4 all batsman......and ponting is good too,but never master wonderful indian pitch......indian pitch provide spin,so its wonderful and not a flat track acclaimed by many........sachin is the most gracious man 2 grace cricket 4 india,and he is india second greatest after kapil dev

Posted by SnowSnake on (September 30, 2010, 13:04 GMT)

If you know Ponting then you know that he rarely says the things he is saying now. I think he done. He seems to lack confidence both in himself and his team.

Posted by TrexTrainer on (September 30, 2010, 12:55 GMT)

For all the hype, Ashes is a joke.

Posted by amit1807kuwait on (September 30, 2010, 12:29 GMT)

The noises from Aussies this time around are distinctly different from what they were earlier. Not sure if the change stems from the realization of the fact that they are not the same force which they were before or is it another one of their subtle strategies. Anyway, fact remains that India-Australia test matches have produced most riveting cricketing performances over the last decade. Lets hope that this series does not break that trend.

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