Rahul Dravid
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Former India batsman and captain

The eternal battler

All top cricketers are united by their refusal to give up. Ricky Ponting had that quality in spades, and plenty besides

Rahul Dravid

November 30, 2012

Comments: 141 | Text size: A | A

Ricky Ponting pulls during an innings that steadied a wobbly Australia, Australia v India, 2nd Test, Sydney, 1st day, January 3, 2012
Ponting had one of the best pull shots in the business © Getty Images
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Ricky Ponting's extraordinary career will be remembered for many reasons. The history books, though, will recognise him as the most successful cricketer to have ever played this game. Ricky leaves international cricket with a load of runs and a Bradmanesque record: 100 Test victories and three World Cups, two as captain. It is a statistic any cricketer from any age would die for.

He was one of the best batsmen in the game (with the greatest cracking pull shot I have ever seen), and among the finest fielders going (brilliant all-round, whether close in, at silly point, point, or in the slips). That apart, I will always think of Ricky as a competitor, a fighter who never gave up, and a guy with a side to his personality that was not often seen: an upright, conscientious man, one with a mature understanding of the big picture. It shows in the timing of his retirement, and I am glad that he will be able to finish off in style.

For a long time, we didn't know each other well, and I admit I was surprised when I saw this other side of him, but I am glad I did eventually. At the end of the 2008 Test series against Australia, when I was going through a rough patch, he took me aside and said, "Look, I've been following your batting through the series and I know you're struggling for runs, and people are after your blood, but I want to tell you, I still think you're playing well. Hang in there." Coming from someone who was seen as a tough guy, someone we Indians had had so many skirmishes with, this was a revelation. We didn't know each other well but he took the trouble to talk to me and offer those words of comfort.

Our bats often provided a topic of conversation - they came from the same manufacturer in Meerut. Once, I asked him to give me one of his bats, signed. He had to take it to Meerut to get a similar one made, but he said he would make sure I got it, and called and checked more than once to make sure it was delivered. Not quite the sort of behaviour most would associate with Ricky Ponting perhaps. In fact, if you ask me what he was like when I was batting, apart from the usual chatter, I can't remember being sledged by him either.

In his long career, Ricky grew to become a fine leader and statesman. Tactically he may not have been as celebrated a captain as the brilliant Mark Taylor, for instance, but he was very aware of his position in the sport and where and what he was.

It was a marked progress from his early days. I remember seeing him after we won the Kolkata Test of 1998, to go 2-0 up on Taylor's side in the series. He had clearly shown that he was one of Australia's most outstanding talents, but that night in Kolkata he was not in the best state, and I wondered if he was going to waste his gifts.

Later I grew to admire how he fronted up a lot about his own failures. He was honest with the media and also spoke freely about issues in world cricket that he had an opinion on.

Ricky had a complex relationship with India; love-hate even. He wasn't successful touring India, where he was frequently measured against Sachin. Maybe because of who he was and how direct he could appear to be in speech and action, somehow he didn't quite warm the hearts of Indians like Steve Waugh did. I don't know if he came to embrace India off the field. What I do know is that guys who played alongside him at Kolkata Knight Riders were effusive about his role as a mentor and leader. To the younger guys, his work ethic was astonishing, and he provided an example of professionalism, ever ready to get involved, both as friend and mentor.

The last few years must have been tough for Ricky, not merely because of the dip in his own form: he was also the last man standing from an Australian era of excellence and domination. He grew up amid greatness, in the line of players like Taylor, David Boon, Waugh, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath. He played with the legends. When Australia began to slip, it must have been hard to come to terms with. He chose to fight through it and be the elder statesman in a young team.

 
 
That core of your nature, to find a way, never leaves you. Which is why retirement is difficult - because your nature doesn't allow you to give up the game. You end up battling yourself and it is a huge fight
 

I remember messaging him after Australia lost the Ashes to tell him to hang in there and take some time away from cricket to clear his mind. What he had said to me a while ago had helped me and I wanted to show my support. Us No. 3s must look out for each other, I guess!

The way he battled on in the last few years of his career is to be admired. A quality inherent in every top-flight cricketer is that they do not give up. You do not want to give up; you are successful because you will not back off. That is why you play; that is why Ricky Ponting played. He didn't carry surrender in his kit bag.

Throughout his career he answered the questions thrown at his batting, found his way around problems, found answers. That core of your nature, to find a way, never leaves you. Which is why retirement is difficult - because your nature doesn't allow you to give up the game. You end up battling yourself and it is a huge fight. It is frustrating, and I have been through some of it myself.

With all top-class players, what starts to go, I think, is not the runs, but the inevitability of being able to score those runs, the assurance of performance. When we went to Australia in 2003-04, there was an inevitability to Ponting scoring runs, and sure enough, he got two double-centuries in the series. It was understood that this guy was going to make us pay.

By the time we played him in 2012, that inevitability had gone, that sense of the expected. It's not that they can't score or that they won't, but the certainty in their batting goes. You know you can fight for some time, like Ricky did, because you don't want to let other people down, but I think he did realise in the end that he doesn't want to play sport like that. Cricket will be the poorer without him but retirements are like the runs made by the great players - inevitable.

You will miss it for a bit, Ricky, but there's a plus side. Like we always believed, the commentary box is a much, much easier place to be.

Rahul Dravid scored over 23,000 international runs for India between 1996 and 2012

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Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 14:33 GMT)

Loved the play around the prospect of "inevitability". thats about it...thats the result of Karma and the might of time....nice one Rahul....and yes, respect for Ricky ponting for the way he played his cricket...

Posted by HarishVS on (December 2, 2012, 2:44 GMT)

I remember Ponting for his pulls and hooks more than anything else. He would absolutely murder any pace bowler anywhere in the world even for a slight error in line or length. I think his competitiveness would go overboard sometimes that he wanted to win at any cost fair or unfair and he would not care for the sentiments of his opposition. One example is that infamous Sydney Test in 2008 and if one looks back many more such 'Ponting Tests' cannot be ruled out of one's memories. But this apart he will be remembered as one of the greatest No.3 batsmen of his era and the best captain. I still remember his fielding and the catches he has taken. I dont think there will be one more Ponting walking into Australia in any near future. Dravid has written beautifully with 100% true facts about Ponting that makes proud of both of these legends.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 2:21 GMT)

i m sooo pleased to read the article of The Wall, who have written words for the great player of his great era. sure Rahul and ponting both are great players, may Allah give me good future tooo.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2012, 0:06 GMT)

very well written - thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thank you.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 23:41 GMT)

thank you Vic Nicholas! and as for me, i feel emotional already that ponting is going. i mean i dont know why we indians are emotional when it comes to letting go of anyone. i wonder how aussies take it easy when one of the greatest ever batsman is leaving the scene. if it was india, the media and fans would be full of emotion! Hail the master, big cheer for him one more time as he would come back in the 2nd innings...and thank you australia for giving birth to this world beater!

Posted by KHegde on (December 1, 2012, 23:02 GMT)

Probably the most balanced tribute I have read in a long time. Why am I not surprised it comes from Dravid?

My favourite bit: "You will miss it for a bit, Ricky, but there's a plus side. Like we always believed, the commentary box is a much, much easier place to be" - there you go Shastri and co; deal with that one.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 19:40 GMT)

I remembered Ricky ponting from the 1996 world cup. when I started watching cricket seriously. I really liked his batting especially his pull and hooks. with french cut.

Posted by shayad on (December 1, 2012, 19:36 GMT)

those school days 96' Dravid Lara & Ponting (i m indian but i always want ponting will cross tendulkar but......... its ok) my team;s only 1 player left kallis The Wall welcome to next pitch.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 18:42 GMT)

excellent article by dravid...made a pleasurable read...he is making his mark as a writer for sure. a few words about Ponting..he has been one of the top 4 batsman during his time along with Sachin Lara, Kallis. and he was the most aggressive of the lot..with all the shots in the book..straight drives cuts pulls,hook..at his best he was the most attractive to watch along with Brian Lara.He has played some masterpieces in his career-2 double 100s v india in 2003 ,a back to the wall 156 v Eng in 2005 to draw manchester test,100no v SA in SA in a 4th inngs winning chase, 197 v pak at WACA 1999 v wasim.shoiab,waqar after 3 test ducks..& he was a big occasion player (unlike tendulkar-my only criticism of sachin)-3 World cup win..a big 140+ no in 203 final which dented India..more often than not he scored big in crunch game situations..which sachin for a player of his class fell constantly short of achieving in his otherwise great career...Ricky -thanks for the entertainment..will miss u

Posted by vpk23 on (December 1, 2012, 17:50 GMT)

Typical of a No.3; Controlled writing.! Hope he can get across to the young & aspriring No.3's in India or elsewhere to follow in his & Ricky's footsteps. 'RR' familar!?

Posted by kharidra on (December 1, 2012, 17:03 GMT)

tRicky Pointers to dealing with success and Failure and Retirement and Propping Up Number 3s. The Class and Cultures of great contemporaries to the fore Doing the same thing and yet differently and diversely. Striving to the limits to produce quality, quantity with sporting competitive spirit. The game is played by some of the greats and yet all greats are human and the human touch on and off the field is never too far behind even when heat of the competition is in the fore ground. All the stake holders always have an enriching experience in the august presence of the greats of the game on the field of play. With the hanging of boots by some of the great players and great umpires their services in the administration of the game and views and reviews from the commentary box will ensure the game will carry forward with improvements particularly because of the quality of the greats.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 16:33 GMT)

Good vun...loved the last line...!

Posted by hhillbumper on (December 1, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

ponting was the best modern batsman for ability to score in all areas. If he had played on low slow pitches such as a certain over raqted prima donna flat track bully then he would have scored 1000's more runs.More interested in team then self which is why Australia have been such a great team and India can only win at home when it is rigged for them to do so

Posted by Outside_Off_Stump on (December 1, 2012, 14:58 GMT)

Dravid and Ponting's stats are freakishly similar though they themselves can't be more dissimilar. Fitting tribute to a fellow no.3 and one of the greatest batsman. Hope he can play an innings to remember in the second innings. Write a book soon, Rahul.

Posted by Vkarthik on (December 1, 2012, 14:25 GMT)

After a long time i read a good article in cricinfo.. This is not an article where author tries to show off his writing skills (which is what guys like Harsha does) familiarity phrases. etc. This is truly a great read. Without being judgemental he nicely summarized Punter's career.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 14:03 GMT)

it is sad to see someone so industrious like you writing articles and doing live commentary when we expect him to work in developing cricketers across India.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 12:52 GMT)

absolute pleasure to hear it from a legend........!!!!!!!!!

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 11:55 GMT)

A fantastic article by Dravid paying his respect to Ponting. Both players will be know as some of the greatest players in histroy.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 11:43 GMT)

A wonderful article by Dravid. Kudos.. A true tribute to a No: 3 batsman from another legend @ No:3.. cricket will miss u both legends

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 11:12 GMT)

Wonderful article, hats off to Rahul Dravid! Made a pleasurable read. Lets hope Dravid continues to write and commentate! And about Ponting, he's been a brilliant player throughout the years. He and Dravid were effortlessly the two best no 3 batsmen of this era.

Posted by Kapil.Gulechha on (December 1, 2012, 11:04 GMT)

One legend praising other......CRICKET.....truely a Gentlemen's game....Loved ypur article Mr. Dravid......just as I enjoyed your batting......

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

Dravid carrying on his batting standards to his writing! A lovely tribute to one of the best No.3 batsmen to another one.... Outstanding article!!

Posted by MENDIS_Forever on (December 1, 2012, 8:36 GMT)

Superb piece of writing Mr. Dravid. Hats off to you.we need more articles like this from you.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 8:33 GMT)

amazing read! especially since both you and ricky debuted at the same time (1996- U, 1995- Ricky) cricket is a very emotional game, and you have proved it, and thats why we love it so much! keep writing rahul! just like how i would have said 'keep batting' when you were on the field!

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 8:07 GMT)

The excellence of this article portrays the quality of the greatest batsman this world has ever seen and never going to see!!! This is the reason why, not only his batting but even his interviews, articles, press meet makes me more excited!!! Long Live Dravid..... This may be too hard to accept, but i believe that Dravid was not born to play cricket, but he was born for cricket... Happy to be a part of his era watching his game!!!

Posted by anotheridiot on (December 1, 2012, 5:40 GMT)

Wonderfully written, and a silent tribute without using big words or jargon, in his own inimitable manner. Just like his batting.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 5:29 GMT)

A Fabulous article by Crickets greatest statesman assessing most successful and competitive Cricketer of the Era...

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 4:19 GMT)

Outstanding article on outstanding sportsman!! Rahul is equally talented in writing..

Posted by pankaj60972 on (December 1, 2012, 4:06 GMT)

it was a pleasure reading every bit of the article, i wonder had Rahul started his career as a writer we would have compared him with Shakespeare but indeed cricket would have been poorer. i guess champions are champions everywhere. the article gives the insight of a great cricketer and a thinker. commitment , motivation, dedication and quest for excellence are some of the qualities which denote greats and i feel myself blessed to have been in an era of rahul and ricky. Thank u rahul for a great article and a wonderful insight of a great cricketer(ricky). hope to see u write more often.

Posted by Ragav999 on (December 1, 2012, 3:44 GMT)

To everyone talking about Ricky Ponting claiming the catch in the 2008 Sydney Test, they should take a look at the catch that Sachin claimed when Rahul Dravid edged one to slip in IPL. The ball clearly bounced before Sachin and Dravid stood his ground. The catch was overturned by the third umpire after watching the replays.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 2:54 GMT)

Fabuloso!!! Magnifique!!! Wondafulous!!! This article by Dynamo Dravid is one of d best ever written.I am extremely delighted to read such an excellent description of one of my greatest cricketers by another of my greatest cricketers.Thanks Rahul.U have expressed my feelings of Remarkable Ricky as I never could.Exhilarating memories of both u greats will happily live in me forever.

Posted by 45runs on (December 1, 2012, 2:12 GMT)

What an outstanding article. How wonderful to read about a friendship between two of the greatest batsmen from two of the greatest rivals. It's what our wonderful game is all about: fighting to win but respecting and admiring your opponent. Thank you Rahul and Ricky for what you've given to cricket and the examples you've set on and off the field.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 1:21 GMT)

Would just like to remind the Indian fans that this article is indeed about Ricky Ponting and not Rahul Dravid.

Posted by challagalla on (December 1, 2012, 1:18 GMT)

Lovely tribute from one gentleman cricketer to another. Ponting is honest, agressive, fair and probably the most misunderstood cricketer going today. He lead a team of declining prowess and lost 2 ashes. I am sure that hurt like hell for. Viv Richards must have gone through the same feelings. Even Sydney 2008, I believe was fought fair and hard [ many wont agree with me here ] and lets just say Harbhajan is a hot headed twit. For me the abiding image of Ponting is that knock in the 2003 world cup final and the sheer agression of it. Here I was glued to the TV , anticipating an Indian victory and this man Ponting put paid to that. Were we ever in the game at all? Thats when I actually understood the Aussie way of playing hard but fair and my admiration for Ponting , Hayden and Symmonds grew.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 1:04 GMT)

Yeah!!! Rahul should write more often!!

Posted by kanishkaraja on (December 1, 2012, 0:15 GMT)

'He didn't carry surrender in his kit bag'. Well, Rahul, neither did you. I guess that is what separates the greats of the game from the also-played's. Brilliant piece.

Posted by D.Sharma on (December 1, 2012, 0:07 GMT)

A lot of similarities between Dravid's and Ponting's careers away from the stats. To name a few, both batted at three, both scored 95/96 on their debut and both were at their peak from 2002-2006.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 23:16 GMT)

It is one of the best articles I have raed in recent past. Good job Rahul! You should do it more often.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 22:42 GMT)

i bet thats one of Pontings try at playing on Rahul's mind in 2008! lol!

Posted by Pedpathpres on (November 30, 2012, 22:26 GMT)

A great article . As with soldiers, I realise and know that the really great respect each other , and this article proves that . The considerate side of Ponting is a new one, but when you think about it , he was probably putting himself into the shoes of another great ! When I pick my Modern World Eleven I am always torn between RSD and Punter for the #3 spot !! Thanks Punter and RSD!

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 21:07 GMT)

Brilliant, Rahul. Spoke like the true class that you are!

Posted by Naikan on (November 30, 2012, 20:06 GMT)

It is not surprising that they supported each other through their tough times. One just has to look at their career performances. They are so alike and near in almost all the forms of cricket in the number of games played or number of runs scored. Even to the point where they realized that they did not want to prolong their careers if they could not bring the same professional level of performance as they did thru the years.

Posted by Hurricane08 on (November 30, 2012, 19:59 GMT)

The reason Ricky Ponting has 100 test victories is because he had a thirst for victories. Even towards the end of his career he showed that passion for a win. This thirst seems to be lacking on our won MSD after the world cup. Also - as Rahul points out, he was a brilliant close in fielder - always leading from the front. He brought in a rare level of enthusiasm on the ground and across the team he led. He will be missed!

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 19:40 GMT)

Rahul Dravid at his elegant best as always!!A fitting tribute to a fighter!!Ponting by all means is one of the greatest to have played the game and his pull shot will be unmatched for years to come...A great captain, a brilliant fielder and of course one of the most stylish batsman the world has ever seen...kudos on a great career...n kudos to Dravid on such an awesome article...ur pen seems to be as elegant as ur cover drive...DRAVID FAN FOR LIFE!!!!!!

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 19:20 GMT)

Brilliant write up from one legend about another! Kudos Rahul, your writing is as elegant as your batting! We are richer for your insights from the commentary box, but we will miss the sight of the two best ever #3 batsmen in world cricket out in the middle. Only a great warrior can recognize and appreciate another with such magnanimity. We are poorer for the retirements of Rahul Dravid and Ricky Ponting, as is the game of Cricket.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 19:16 GMT)

A fantastic tribute from one legend to another. Looking forward to more literary masterpieces from the Wall.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 18:56 GMT)

What a tribute to Ponting!! For Dravid the writer- Hoping cricket's loss would turn out to be literature's gain... :)

Posted by chris54 on (November 30, 2012, 18:55 GMT)

What a wonderful tribute. RD hits the nail right on the head when he refers to the inevitability of the great batsmen scoring runs. Any more articles like this and some professional journalists will be fearing for their jobs.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 18:46 GMT)

Rahul I really appreciate for your wonderful writings and these become as beautyful as your batting! After your retirement I was wondering whether I can like watching cricket anymore rather watching for timepass! but thank god you are back on TV as presenter and commentator which made game more interesting and I am really enjoying every bit of your presence on TV. And I have crazy dream 'to see you as a coach of world cup winning team someday' and I really pray for it. Thank you sir.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 18:42 GMT)

Hey Punter! spare your thought over HIS last lines and oblige us with your presence at commentary box in the coming days. What a respectful that sight would be when two legendary no. 3's together analyze and guide the struggling no. 3's !!!

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 17:54 GMT)

Extremely well written article!! You are spot on when you say ' he didnt quite warm our hearts like Steve Waugh did'. Not sure of one thing though - he didnt sledge you:)

Posted by Siaer on (November 30, 2012, 17:38 GMT)

@Nipper1970:

He plans to at the least play out the rest of the domestic season with Tasmania, including the Big Bash.

Posted by ayub.ans on (November 30, 2012, 17:20 GMT)

Straight from the heart Dravid. Thank you very much. Ricky is the last of the all-conquering Australians, he will be missed.... Plus Dravid, might not be a bad idea to text Sachin.....

Posted by babubhaiyya on (November 30, 2012, 16:51 GMT)

A Great article by a Great for another Great ........... Sportsmanship at its very best

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 15:54 GMT)

Brilliantly written. Dravid should write more often.

Posted by Nipper1970 on (November 30, 2012, 14:39 GMT)

Good read, thanks Rahul- Is always hard comparing players /era's etc, but Ponting would have to be the top 3 for Australia.Bradman, Greg Chappell and Ponting.

I remember Steve Waugh in his auto biography when describing the perfect cricker in which he explained they needed to have the "eagerness for involvement" of a Ricky Ponting.

This is the thing i will always think of with Ponting. he was always in the game.

If someone dropped a catch, misfielded etc, he was always there, offering encouragement, when a bowler took a wicket, he was the 1st on the scene.

I think this eagerness was sometimes confused with aggression by the media and some other posters above. re Kamlendra Singh

By the way does anyone know if he will continue with Tasmania for a while yet ?

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 14:35 GMT)

"He didn't carry surrender in his kit bag". Well said,Rahul,neither did you, for that matter, and that's what makes the names of Ponting and Dravid the legends that they have become over the years.Wonderfully written, very well assessed and with deep insight into the mind of the great battler from Australia.Kudos to both Ponting and Dravid.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 14:30 GMT)

I have always hated ponting throughout his cricketing career, noy becuase he was a bad cricketer, but because the cockiness in his attitude. It took one article written by a man I have respected the most to change my opinion. Good going Dravid. When you retired, I thought Cricket lost one of its best sons! But after reading this article and the others you have written, I feel that the prodigal son has now come of age. Its going to be all good for cricket from here on! Wonder what Ponting is going to do on retiring! Stay with Cricket Ponting, you do not need to play to contribute.

Posted by Alexander19 on (November 30, 2012, 14:10 GMT)

Below the article it is written "Rahul Dravid scored over 23,000 international runs for India between 1996 and 2012" Being a die-hard Rahul Dravid fan i must tell you he made 24,208 international runs. So please change it to "24000+ runs" at least! As for Ponting, he'll be missed no doubt!

Posted by InnocentGuy on (November 30, 2012, 14:09 GMT)

Am I just blinded by the fact that RSD is awesome that this article appears awesome, or is it really well-written? I can't tell. Just about anything that RSD does comes across as supremely awesome and professional. Ricky was an outstanding player and captain, no doubt. No matter his personality, there's no denying that he is one of the greatest! Kudos Ricky.

Posted by IndCricFan2013 on (November 30, 2012, 14:00 GMT)

Please link this article in the Ricky Ponting's international retirement block at the home page, not just under specials. This is a true tribute to him than say Harbajan's comments, which should go as a part of all comments from cricketers.

Posted by dewansharie on (November 30, 2012, 13:53 GMT)

Great Article from a legend to a legend. I would only say this everything which has a beginning has an End. and Dravid is quite right about Punter that he is a real fighter. i would like hear punter in commentary Box

Posted by Nvins on (November 30, 2012, 13:52 GMT)

Excellent article! Rahul Dravid is a Class Act for sure. Most of all the feeling that one gets is that you are one amongst us, the common man!! As for Cricket it was indeed a blessing/pleasure watching Ricky, Rahul, Kallis in the same era....

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 13:48 GMT)

It was an honor, sir, to be a part of the generation which saw both of you playing at the same time.

Posted by Mob_King on (November 30, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

Beautiful article, Rahul - I am absolutely positive that you can continue to be one of the greatest ambassadors and statesman of the game in your retirement.

As a Kiwi it pains me to admit, but I felt myself choking up just a bit reading such a brilliant tribute from such a topical subject as Dravid - a man who faced him on the field. Punter really was one of the great battlers and I wish the Black Caps would show half of the grit and determination he displayed.

Posted by sawnoff on (November 30, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

True indeed, a great batsman to have played the game of cricket. the never give up attitude i admire was in the World Cup 2011 when the Side was going down he was the one who stood firm and eventually scored 104. no doubt he was hated in India as he was very honest in his approach. the no 3 batsman world over have a very distinct mind set and approach to the game being positive, hard working and legends. Ricky you will be remembered as the fine captain to have led the team to great success.

Posted by MrMojoRisin on (November 30, 2012, 13:36 GMT)

@veerender Chittapuram: I believe SRTs Sharjah innings was just a one day match. Did you watch India vs Australia, 2003 World Cup final? In tests, did you watch back to back double hundreds against India in 2003/2004? Even better was his innings of about 150 to draw a test in Old Trafford from memory. There are quite a few more that come to mind.....

Posted by dms1972 on (November 30, 2012, 13:26 GMT)

To all those who keep bringing up 2008, India were hardly innocent in that whole affair, which was a continuation of what took place in the previous series played in India. Those who throw stones shouldn't live in glass houses. @Veerender Chittapuram, you have to find something to bring a down a legend and you use a very flimsy case to bring him down. How is Lara scoring 400 runs in an innings more courageous than anything Ponting has done? Courage takes different forms, and Ponting had the courage to attack the game as a batsmen, and as a result made batting look so easy when he was at his best. When everyone was calling for either his sacking or his retirement before the series against India, he showed tremendous courage to fight through a form slump that had seen his Test average drop from 57 to 52 and he scored a century in Sydney and followed it up with a double century in Adelaide. It takes courage to go on in the face of adversity, and Ponting did that last season.

Posted by SanatAttavar on (November 30, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

Thank you Cricinfo for getting some breadth of fresh air - by writers such as these. Rahul Dravid is right up there as a sportsperson and is also proving it while writing as well as at commentating. Way to go Rahul, always enjoyed watching you play, now enjoy reading / hearing you. Ricky Ponting super cricketer but somehow felt he could've be on the right side of the game in a few instances. 100 Test victories WOW!!! A record all sporstmen would die for.

Posted by subbuamdavadi on (November 30, 2012, 12:54 GMT)

I guess, when we sit down to assess Ricky Ponting's career and achievements, due credit would have to be given to the Aussies selectors who persevered with him in spite of his initial-day's off-field escapades. That icky was able to shrug off those wild days and become the Ricky he is - is a testament to his character and dedication. Here we can contrast the treatment meted out by Indian selectors to Vinod Kambli, another fine cricketer who was shown the door a little too early because of his off-field activities

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 12:28 GMT)

Rahul Dravids's cricketing skills are well known and admired world over.But I"m sure from now on , he will have admirers for his writing skills. A lovely piece, a wonderful tribute, beautifully worded.Please don't stop with this Mr. Rahul Dravid, continue writing more on Cricket and also on other topics of your interest.Writing is a wonderful skill and you seem to have plenty of it. don't let it go to waste.

Posted by Susant_RD146 on (November 30, 2012, 11:57 GMT)

Last Time i want to see your Pull short with that old style & delegation.. Please hit at least a century in this test..You will be missed. Truly the second best Australian batsman and Best captain of all time... Dravid thanks for this article your words are very pleasing and you always as humble and positive as your shorts. 2012 may be.., no is the End of cricketing era which started in '90's. The brilliants of brilliants are Bid the Adieu to the cricket.. Miss you both....

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 11:48 GMT)

Amazing piece... @Veerender T - dint u watch THE FINAL of CWC '03 ?..Ricky pummelled the Indians with a 140* ....156(with all the grit,courage,determination) at Old Trafford - Ashes '05 ?...98* in the 1st ever T20I just 2 showcase his versatility...

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 11:33 GMT)

...and Rahul Dravid shows that he is one of those blokes that is brilliant at everything! Excellent tribute from a formidable #3 batsman who knows better than any armchair critic as to how difficult it is to keep churning out runs at the top of the order. When it comes to Dravid, I never felt we had India beaten while he was still at the crease. People rightly rave about VVS Laxmans freakish ability to play an astounding innings against Australia, but somehow forget that Dravid did it too...and more often. 188 alongside Laxmans 281, the double centuries in Australia in 2004, Dravid is an under appreciated genius. Tendulkar had the average and the hero worship, Laxman the freakish ability and Viru the amazing strike rate...but underpinning all that Indian success was "The Wall". While Dravid stood tall, India were never beaten. God Bless from Melbourne.

Posted by xsSandy on (November 30, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

Great article. It is easy to see great players taking retirements but the mental battle they fight is humongous. You all players are made of different soul and body. Constantly, performing in aliens conditions and still bearing the pressure of media, poor critics, your own countrymen is difficult to deal with. Many will break down and only few great become The Wall, Punter, Warne, Murli, Sachin and Akram of game... Well done Rahul Sir....

Posted by VenkyN on (November 30, 2012, 11:07 GMT)

One image of Ricky Ponting stands out more than anything else for me. In the virtual "quarterfinal" game between Aus-SAF in the 1999 World Cup (Steve Waugh's you've-just-dropped-the-world-cup game), Steve Elworthy and the other new ball bowler (Telemachus I think ?) were terrorising the batters with some very aggressive to the throat fast bowling. Aus were 2-for-very little very soon. In walked Ponting. Short pitched ball - pull, four. Snorter to the throat - hook - six. He refused to be cowed or to back down. And watching that game, I knew this guy would become one of the greats. He lost his wicket to a typically aggressive young man's slog in that game - but I guess he learnt his lesson in temperament over the years and became the great that he was destined to be. Cricket will be poorer for his retirement, and I feel the wistfulness that I usually feel at a great sportsman's walk into the sunset. Battle on Punter !

Posted by aby_prasad on (November 30, 2012, 10:58 GMT)

Wow didnt see this coming! While fans from the same country and different countries argue and fight within themselves without any say in the matter (other than being a 'fan'), Great players have heart-warming friendships going on and a mutual respect that is so high , it leaves you gasping. Its like there is this higher civilization going on secretly and inevitably these people go on to be greats!,..or is it that they become great and then elevate themselves to such higher standards! Bless these individuals in any case...Rahul Dravid for revealing and writing with class and Ricky Ponting...you are all whatever Dravid wrote...the most successful,gritty,rocky kind of cricketer anyone wud want to be in exchange for all their stats!

Posted by Slysta on (November 30, 2012, 10:49 GMT)

Champion. May not have the towering signature innings of a Lara, Tendulkar, or Laxman, but that was partly because it was never about him - it was about winning Test matches for Australia by the most direct route. Most revealing was his response to adversity: few who saw his monumental 156 on a wearing Day 5 pitch at Old Trafford in 2005 will forget it. And when his 242 did not stop India winning Dravid's Test in Adelaide 2003, his response was 257 in the next Test in Melbourne, thereby making damn sure Australia won that one. One of the best, and to be admired for the public nature of his self-improvement. Struggled with alcohol early, and was out of step with public acceptance after the Sydney Test against India in 2008... but he owned his mistakes, and worked hard to make amends. Well done sir.

Posted by A.Ak on (November 30, 2012, 10:12 GMT)

Finally cricinfo got someone who writes positive things in his column. Dravid and Pointing both share same things - no 3, being positive, hard working and legends. Best number 3 ever played the game - Don, Dravid, Kallis and Ponting - is fact.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 10:11 GMT)

Brilliant article from Dravid. Seems to excel in what ever he does - what differentiates professional sports writers from former players - is their personal touch which they bring to their stories. Truly brilliant.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 9:39 GMT)

Very good article, Rahul. And funny: 'Us No. 3s must look out for each other, I guess!'

Posted by harshthakor on (November 30, 2012, 9:30 GMT)

Ricky Ponting is one of the greatest match-winning batsman of all time .Batted very similarly to Viv Richards.Never curbed his strokemaking in the hardest of circumstances and in his peak era marginally even ahead of Lara and Sachin.It is ironic that his stats are so close to Rahul Dravid who writes this article.Infact I virtually rate both of them on par with each other.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 9:22 GMT)

Ricky! Can you Please show your AWE INSPIRING HOOK SHOT to the world.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 9:22 GMT)

True Ricky has had a great career. We always associate a great innings of courage , grit and determination with a great batsman. Lara -- those trple four hundred, Laxman - with the Kolkata Innings , Rahul - with the Adelaide test match, sachin - with the sharjah stormy innings but we dont get in Mind any Innings thinking about Ricky.

Great to see the words flowing from Rahul's Pen . Would be definitely waiting for more from you sir.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 9:18 GMT)

Well written Rahul. I do not know how some people are so excellent at whatever they do.

Posted by Kaare on (November 30, 2012, 9:11 GMT)

Ricky Ponting was the guy who was easy to hate - he didn't bother coating up his desire to win with anything pretty, and was very honest to himself. Some of his actions are indefensible, but I would characterize him as the guy who, in his passion and desire, took things too far and then regretted them, rather than a guy who was innately unconcerned with the spirit of the game. Batting wise, he is a true legend, and it is a testament to his maturity and commitment that his batting reputation never appeared to matter to him anywhere as much as the team cause

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 9:07 GMT)

Indeed, Ricky will be remembered as one of the greatest batmen in Cricket and one of the best captain to have led a team in the sports.

Posted by Cool_Jeeves on (November 30, 2012, 9:07 GMT)

Very good piece. Pleasure to read something written by such an articulate and accomplished individual.

Posted by wasim_007 on (November 30, 2012, 8:55 GMT)

Legend on Legend.....really an era is going to end....Wish you all the best Ricky....Great Article Dravid...I liked too..."Meerut, you mentioned many time...love you m from Meerut"

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 8:41 GMT)

Rahul Dravid a legend, a true gentleman and the best ambassador for cricket of the 21st century. A really beautiful article showing the class of Ricky Ponting as well as his own. Salute to the legend who should be given more honor and respect than so called god of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar.

Posted by vaidyar on (November 30, 2012, 7:42 GMT)

@Percy_fender: I agree with you on that. He scored a lot of runs, was a great batsman. But I was never a fan of the way he played the game. Maybe it was the Javagal Srinath incident, but the 2008 match left a bad taste. He clearly lacked something I hold sportsmen to - Integrity. To have someone initiate and make a pact that you accept and not question catches and then claim a blatant mis-catch himself was downright disgusting. I don't expect players to walk, there you are leaving decisions to umpires. To tell the opposing captain to trust you completely and then go around blatantly using that against them?! The game goes beyond statistics and Ponting does not measure up like AB, Taylor or Waugh.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 7:33 GMT)

good article by dravid. the aussies have always been tough on filed . but outside the arena they are wondefull blokes. I would like to bring to light an incident in the airport in bangalore. I met some of the greats like ricky and brett lee and they were happy to talk to folks in airport obliging them with autographs and photgraphs. I was suprised some of the indian stars refusd even an acknowledgement from the people cheering them when the walked past the security gate. I am not suggesting that we are arrogant and they are kind, but they are fierce competitors on the filed and outside the arena they would share a beer with you.

Posted by vipulsmistry on (November 30, 2012, 7:22 GMT)

Excellent article by Rahul Dravid, echoed the sentiments of us Indians towards Ricky.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 7:14 GMT)

Very well written. I especially liked the part where he says "That core of your nature, to find a way, never leaves you. Which is why retirement is difficult - because your nature doesn't allow you to give up the game. You end up battling yourself and it is a huge fight. ". Even beyond the commentary box Rahul has a career as a journalist. Succinct writing and connects to the heart !

Posted by jagatr on (November 30, 2012, 7:12 GMT)

Fantastic article - from Rahul, a true gentleman who epitomizes graciousness to Punter, the undisputed boor who'll probably never read this article and definitely doesnt deserve it!

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 7:05 GMT)

this is really fine artical rahulsir.ricky ponting is really legend of the game and a fantastic caption,thew cricket will definetly miss ricky ponting congratulations to him for fantasic careear

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 6:44 GMT)

Ricky Ponting deserves to be placed in the same rank as Lara and Tendulkar as the best batsmen of recent vintage. He has always given of his best on the filed of play and as a batter he was dangerous when the chips were down. He deserved all the praises he received as a cricketer. He will be missed as fierce competitor who never backed down from a challenge and often ensured his team was faVourable placed by the time he departed from the batting crease. He has timed his retirement to perfection and as the saying goes, he has left everyone saying why? instead of why not. Two words epitomizes his career as a batter, effortless and inevitable. Ricky scored effortlessly even with a degree of nonchalance: before you know it he was 100. There was an unerring sense when he batted that he was going to make a big score, when he got to 100, 200 hundred was always within the realm of inevitability. Mr, Ponting, thank you for gracing us with your talent, poise and professionalism!

Posted by maheshkmurthy on (November 30, 2012, 6:44 GMT)

Should change Rahul Dravid's description to 'Rahul Dravid scored over 20000 runs for India.'

Posted by ManishKhorgade on (November 30, 2012, 6:20 GMT)

Excellent article.. especially the last two paragraphs... it amazing how great people put simple things in a much simpler way.. loved it Rahul!

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 6:10 GMT)

Legend speaks for a Legend..

Posted by stalefresh on (November 30, 2012, 6:10 GMT)

I have lived the better part of the last decade and a half watching Dravid and Ponting score test runs. I can define many days of my life through their careers. Dravid's runs a little bit more fondly than Ponting's - but both equally memorable.

I'm so glad that Dravid has chosen to blog and talk to the fans so directly. He is my all time favorite sportsman. I hope I meet him one day.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 6:07 GMT)

very honest article from Dravid that brought other side of Pointing to the cricketing world...I personaly did not like punter as a humanbeing though i have autograph frm him back in 2007...dont know but i feel sad while he is retiring as we gonna miss a cricket legend and a great entertainer...

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 5:57 GMT)

Great article!!! about a number3 form a number 3.. both best for their country..and probably two of the best number 3s in the world....way to go both of you...RD and RP..

Posted by skmohanty on (November 30, 2012, 5:57 GMT)

Certainly a great Batsman of the era and more over a great motivator who never gave up! A great fighter, you beauty punter, will be missed always!!

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (November 30, 2012, 5:55 GMT)

there is no better person than dravid to comment on pontings retirement. both guys were legends and rivals. and they were the best the world has ever seen. amazing dravid , amazing ponting.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 5:54 GMT)

What a great tribute from one great to another...Dravid's role post his retirement deserves just more respect and honor..and this tribute to Ponting is testimony to the fact that all the old Legends are retiring and must be given the high guard of honor given whatever phase they have been going out for. Respect...

Posted by Clyde on (November 30, 2012, 5:49 GMT)

Ponting and Dravid are people we can all learn from.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 5:44 GMT)

Excellent Article by best No:3 on a Great No:3 batsman.....!!! We will miss you Punter as we miss The WALL...!!!

Posted by ishud on (November 30, 2012, 5:42 GMT)

Sweet article! Thanx Rahul! :)

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 5:39 GMT)

Great article Dravid.. You are as good a writer as the wall in you...!

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 5:34 GMT)

No 3 for No 3 - A master article

Posted by 1MAK7 on (November 30, 2012, 5:28 GMT)

Thanks Rahul for showing us that Ricky had a different side to what we saw on tele. No a big fan of his but huge respect for what he has achieved. Had some of his best and worst moments against India and that sums up his relationship with India too. Have a good life Ricky and hope to see a more mellowed version of you, the one Rahul describes here, in the commentary box!

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 5:26 GMT)

2 legends....nice article...

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 5:20 GMT)

very honest article from Dravid that brought other side of Pointing to the cricketing world...I personaly did not like punter as a humanbeing though i have autograph frm him back in 2007...dont know but i feel sad while he is retiring as we gonna miss a cricket legend and a great entertainer...

Posted by Gobhav on (November 30, 2012, 5:15 GMT)

As always, Dravid is spectacular in understanding not only his game and finer details about his own personality, but also of the fellow contemporaries. His assessment, analysis and conclusion about the other no. 3 great, is spot on. Welcome, Dravid, the columnist! I can see a long innings in your new profession as well.

Posted by dms1972 on (November 30, 2012, 5:12 GMT)

@Gupta.Ankur, and all the other Ponting bashers, I hope you've read this article. When someone like Rahul Dravid says Ponting was one of the best, then you should take notice.

Posted by veerakannadiga on (November 30, 2012, 5:11 GMT)

Lovely piece. Loved reading it. No fuss, no hero worshipping, just plain facts. Pointing we will miss you. Hope you play for IPL alongside Rahul.God Bless Us All. Amen. from a loyal Dravid fan.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 5:08 GMT)

Great commendation by a Champion on a Champion ! God..We all were privileged to witness the legacy of these greats..Aravinda Sachin, Lara, Ponting ,Dravid , Kallis , Mahela..

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 5:07 GMT)

Rajendra was the school cricket team after the year i last played cricket in any level. Those were the days when an ordinary boy couldn't possibly think of cricket as a career. Those were the days and those were the fans of Ricky Ponting. Rajendra belonged to an Army family and was raised in the north-east. Excellent cricketer, captain and master of observation.

He was the biggest cricket fan I had ever come across. He worshiped RICKY PONTING. Not literally, but with full rituals with incense sticks. Great people have great fans and followers.

Posted by Pinarsh255 on (November 30, 2012, 5:07 GMT)

One great speaks about another. Cricket will be richer if Ponting remains involve in the game

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 5:05 GMT)

A brilliant article from a rival whose careers ran in parallel. Rahul's article shows a different side of Ricky which isn't known to the cricketing fans. Being a part of a test side with 100 wins and captaining many of them is a major achievement. The last standing man from the ruthless Aussie side which won everything that came their way and even whatever that didn't. Most definitely the 2nd best cricketer coming from Australia. Hope he does well in his last test match. Would really be interesting to see him behind the mike and know his views much as I had wished from the author!

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 5:00 GMT)

From one great to the another... Cant get better!!

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 4:58 GMT)

Brilliant!!! A fitting tribute from one legend to another.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 4:52 GMT)

Brilliant article. Kudos for revealing the "other" side of Ricky Ponting. The best pull shot and probably one of the best captains ever. Great read- good article Rahul !

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

"He didn't carry surrender in his kit bag." - Quite aptly put by India's greatest No. 3 to his contemporary Australian Legend and Australia's 2nd greatest batsman of all time.....

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 4:45 GMT)

I really hope Dravid strikes a balance in his public appearances. I do not want to see him as a full time commentator/writer; he should only do it from time to time so that his words are valued.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (November 30, 2012, 4:44 GMT)

Rahul is absolutely the right person to talks about this subject because for sheer doggedness and charecter, he is one of the very few we have seen. Ricky Ponting was without doubt one of the greatest batsman ever,from Australia even if he was not the best after Bradman as many people say.There have been several others in my opinion with Neil Harvey being the closest.What we forget when it comes to heaping emotional praise on cricketers who have announced their retirement, is that the Harveys and Borders is that they did not have as many opportunities to score runs as Ricky has had.Then again, Ponting did not care how he won as long as he did. He did not bother about his image and what the media said. To that extent he was honest. but his committment to Australia over-rode everything else as we saw in that ugly match against India at the SCG in 2008.I cannot imagine Mark taylor or Alan Border doing the same. So Ricky I wish you the very best but only for the cricket you let me see.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 4:43 GMT)

Rahul dravid scored over 23000 runs in international cricket,not 15000...wrong printing!!!!But a nice article

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 4:42 GMT)

From One legend to another ........good luck punter

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 4:41 GMT)

Beautiful article........good job Rahul The Wall Dravid!!! The greatest player of genuine quick bowling on fast tracks after Viv The Great Richard......the only batsman who could constantly dare to hook/pull fastest men with greatest of ease........hats off to you Punter......Viv Richards and Ricky Ponting.......simply the greatest batsmen against best of fast men.......It was a pleasure watching you play Punter!!! There is absolutely no one..........not even the Don...... who could decimate the red cherry thrown by a genuine fast bowlerl by a Hook or Pull like the Punter did......Simply the best batsman to watch against hostile fast bowling on fast bouncy green tracks

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 4:40 GMT)

One of the finest players from the great Australian era, if not THE finest batsman. Stylish to the excellence, cricket will surely miss Ricky. I eagerly await the chirpy voice in the com box..hope it will come soon.

Posted by Alexk400 on (November 30, 2012, 4:35 GMT)

excellant article.. I hope you replaced ponting with sachin also. They i won't have nothing to whine about. your writing style is really good. Ponting always be remembered for counter attack. He did to india many many times. He never quits but no one in the world go against natuire of old age...bone cracking , joint cracking...things will stop working one by one..invincible feeling becomes. Good guys leave on time on their own. Simple.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 4:34 GMT)

That core of your nature, to find a way, never leaves you. Which is why retirement is difficult - because your nature doesn't allow you to give up the game. You end up battling yourself and it is a huge fight -- Rahul Dravid

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 4:33 GMT)

A brilliant article,, The wall stands even taller after his retirement...

Posted by 3Cents on (November 30, 2012, 4:15 GMT)

Wow!! That was an awesome homage from one Great to another!! Two of the best batsmen in the last 15 years for sure. Ricky is certainly the more blessed one as he could dominate a bowling at will on his day (which is most often :-), till the recent dip in form) compared to Dravid, well who was the Great Wall, and thus ground down a bowling at will! Purely on a performance basis, Punter is the greatest batsman of the last 15yrs (sorry Indian fans, I am an Indian but such is life) and kind of puts him right near his countryman in the all time list! I loved the ending Dravid!! You can write really well! Please do that more often!

Posted by majesticmaniac on (November 30, 2012, 4:13 GMT)

Wow, From the heart, one legend to another.

Posted by gmoturu on (November 30, 2012, 4:07 GMT)

i have always disliked Ponting. i guess it is easy to do that. but i feel sad that he is retiring. Good luck Ricky.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 3:53 GMT)

Fantastic article and some great lines Rahul!! Although, it is good to remember the nicer side of Ponting during his retirement (which is the gentleman thing to do), yet I find it tough to forget Kumble's words: "Only one side played in the spirit of the game today."

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 3:48 GMT)

Rahul can sure write! If his retirement is a loss for Indian Cricket, it is a big gain for media like Cricinfo.

Posted by Rupix on (November 30, 2012, 3:46 GMT)

Excellent tribute from one No 3 to another. I loved the last bit - the commentary box is a much easier place. Deal with that bouncer, media!

Posted by ns_krishnan on (November 30, 2012, 3:41 GMT)

@Cricinfo: Dravid has score 24000+ runs, you have mentioned as 15000+. Yes, I know 24000 is greater than 15000, but you could have mentioned it as 24000.

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