Ricky Ponting October 19, 2012

'Champions Trophy wins rank just behind World Cups and Ashes wins'

As Australia look to defend their title, their former captain Ricky Ponting remembers highlights from the previous editions

How important is the ICC Champions Trophy for players?
It's a very important tournament for the player when you consider that the 50-over game has been a bit maligned over the last few years, with how big T20 cricket has become so quickly. The big tournaments you play in are the ICC World Cup and the Champions Trophy, so it's a very big and important event for the players.

And the fans?
I think the fans place it in the same regard as the players, especially the way the Champions Trophy is formatted now, with fewer teams than originally. I remember when I started playing Champions Trophy, almost all of the Associate nations were playing. In the UK in 2004, we played USA in the group stage - the game was over six overs, [us] chasing just 65. It was a pretty ordinary advertisement for the game, but the last tournament in South Africa in 2009 was the best run, and the most well-organised ODI tournament that I've been a part of.

Fans appreciate the shorter and compressed format as there are no real wasted games - the best eight teams are playing each other, the tournament's done in two weeks or so, and they get to see high-quality cricket in every game.

How important is the one-day game to the future of cricket?
ODI cricket is in a really interesting phase right now. I love 50-over cricket and I love Test cricket - they are my two favourite forms of the game. But you can see how just how big and how important the T20 game has become for world cricket in only a short period of time.

One-day cricket is certainly important in Australia's eyes, with us hosting the next World Cup. The one-day game is vitally important to this country. But I think it'll be really interesting to see what does happen to the 50-over game. I think the roles between T20 and 50-over cricket will probably be reversed - eventually we'll be playing more T20 and less 50-over cricket.

You captained Australia to victory in the previous two ICC Champions Trophy tournaments. How do the titles rank in terms of your career achievements?
They rank very highly, probably just behind World Cups and Ashes Test wins. The Champions Trophy eluded us for quite a while - the first few I played in were knockout tournaments and we got knocked out early on. When we were in India, beating West Indies in the final in 2006 was very special to us. Then we beat New Zealand in South Africa in 2009, which was a very good tournament for the team - we snuck through the whole tournament undefeated, despite a bit of a scare versus Pakistan in the last group game.

What is your best memory of playing in the tournament?
I have lots of fond memories of the Champions Trophy. My favourite was probably the 2009 final - it was a bit of a nail-biting final, although we got across the line four wickets down. Callum Ferguson injured his knee in the final, so we were a batsman down, chasing runs, and we lost a couple of early wickets. Shane Watson scored another hundred [after his hundred in the semis] and saw us home.

We went through that tournament undefeated, so that's very memorable. Thankfully, for me, we did that on a few occasions in World Cups and the Champions Trophy - and that's a pretty hard thing to do in one-day cricket.

You are the fifth leading run scorer in the history of the tournament, with 593 in 18 innings. What was your favourite innings in the ICC Champions Trophy?
My hundred in 2009 against England in the semis. We had to chase a reasonable total [257] at Centurion. Watto and I put on 252, and we chased it one wicket down. Watto ended up with 136 not out and I made 111 not out. The enormity of the situation - chasing a big total, being the captain, making a hundred and winning one down - that was one of my biggest highlights.

You've played, and won, the most matches as captain and have a win ratio of 80%. Are you proud of that achievement?
Yes, I'm very proud of that record. The last couple of tournaments we played some very good one-day cricket. Captain's records are only a reflection of how good their team and how good their players are - so I've got to be thankful for that.

Who were the toughest five bowlers you have ever faced in one-day international cricket?
Wasim Akram, Curtly Ambrose, Shaun Pollock, Murali and Malinga. The generation I've played in has some of the all-time great bowlers.

That list obviously doesn't include your formidable Australian bowling attack, which was crucial to your success, wasn't it?
I was pretty lucky in my captaincy to have [Jason] Gillespie, [Glenn] McGrath and [Shane] Warne - and, of course, Brett Lee, who will go down as one of the great one-day bowlers. We always had decent part-timers as well - [Andrew] Symonds, [Darren] Lehmann - those sorts of guys, who could do a job for you and were very handy. That was the one thing about our team - we always had great balance because we had guys batting in our top six who were always able to bowl a few overs, which is very important for any one-day team.

See the best eight teams in one-day international cricket take part in the ICC Champions Trophy in June 2013 - tickets for The Oval, Cardiff and Edgbaston are on sale on 5 November at icc-cricket.com (pre-registration open now)

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • natmastak on October 22, 2012, 13:16 GMT

    @ Australian , pointless ? coz it showed true picture when compared with someone really superior?2008,is because,that was when his teammates retired and ganguly and kumble retired for India.(sample size is too small to consider after retirements of dravid and laxman.)It is since then he has been AVERAGE and not LATELY,as you would like to suggest.His inning in WC final was great,but so was Damien Martin's (or Chris Cairns' in champion's trophy final ), does that make his on par with Ponting ? NO.My point is,Ponting's achievements are very much enhanced because of his teammates .

  • Robert on October 22, 2012, 9:12 GMT

    @natmastak_so-called. Pointless stats. Why you elected to mention from 2008 is a complete mystery to me. 2008 is certainly not lately, which is what I said? Why not just look at the last few series played? Sachin's recent peformances in series were well below par. Clearly a man at the end of his career and not his staggering best. Just like Ponting, which was my point .Both players at the peak of their career were pure champions. To say otherwise is cleary because you may not like the player. My first point to you. As an example, how do you rate Pontings WC final innings in South Africa? Was that average made extraordinary by extraordinary team mates?

  • natmastak on October 21, 2012, 21:35 GMT

    @ Australian ,interesting stats these, since 2008 punter scores at avg of 42,well below his career avg52.,however Sachin scores at 55.5 just above his career avg. 55. and Sachin even had longer career than Ponting.

  • natmastak on October 21, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    @ Australian . you shouldn't have mentioned Sachin here.now ,please check on the stats of both after 2008 and then decide for yourself. and Sachin has had even longer career than punter. ( I am not a blind follower of Sachin,but nobody in his senses can deny that if is above his peers ).

  • Robert on October 21, 2012, 10:10 GMT

    @natmastak_so-called. You are right none. Not many Australian players have. He is at the end of a long career and is not what he was. Does not mean he is not a great player. Same could be said of Sachin. What has he done for Indian test cricket lately?

  • Andrew on October 21, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    @maximum6 on (October 19 2012, 23:35 PM GMT) - ultimately I couldn't care less if there was only 2 Test nations - Oz & Eng. Of course I want to see Test cricket expand, but an Ashes battle every 2 years is the real cricket cycle!

  • Rajaram on October 21, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    Next to sir Don Bradman, Ricky Ponting is the Greatest Cricketer that Australia has produced. The ONLY Captain afer Warwick Armstrong,85 years later,to inflict a 5 nil whitewash defeat over England in 2006 -07. The ONLY Cricketer to figure in the MAXIMUM no. of World Ciup and Champions Trophy Wins, 3 as Captain the World Cup,two as Captain in the Champions Trophy. The Test Captain with the MAXIMUM Number of Test Wins in Test history,the MOST prolific scorer in Tests and ODIs for Australia - and the BEST Fielder Australia ever had. Why couldn't Julia Gillard recognize our favorite son?

  • natmastak on October 21, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    @ Australian , how many wins he orchestrated after his fabled teammates retired ? and please dont mention his recent freebies he got against India .

  • Robert on October 21, 2012, 3:30 GMT

    @natmastak_so-called. Surely you can see past your clear dislike of Ponting and see he is a great player. Go take a good look at his stats and the influence he had with bat in hand to many an Australian win.

  • matt on October 20, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    The Ashes is just something the subcontinent countries fans just dont seem to get or will ever be able to it's about fierce rivalry passion the the will to win over 5 long days of world class cricket.Yes test cricket is long but its the real game.T 20 cricket is fun but way to short and not really showing any real high quality moments the 50 over game must live it a game a real game 50 overs each side where you can watch someone make a massive score or behold a 10 over spell by a bowler on fire dont loose the passion for 50 over cricket fans just for the MONEY SPIN OF T20,,,Love the game

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