West Indies v Australia, 2nd Test, Port-of-Spain, 2nd day

Roach haunts Ponting's past and future

Daniel Brettig at Queen's Park Oval

April 16, 2012

Comments: 42 | Text size: A | A

Ricky Ponting edges behind off Kemar Roach, West Indies v Australia, 2nd Test, Port-of-Spain, April 15, 2012
Kemar Roach picked up Ricky Ponting's wicket in the first innings in Trinidad © AFP
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Having humbled him in 2009, Kemar Roach has said he will not be easing up on Ricky Ponting as their return duel becomes increasingly likely to have a say in the closing chapters of the former Australia captain's international career.

Roach was a 21-year-old unknown when he shook up Ponting and forced him to retire hurt with a badly bruised elbow during a Test match at the WACA three years ago, prompting the world's bowlers to home in on an area of Ponting's game - the short ball - that had previously been considered his greatest strength.

On the current Caribbean tour, Ponting's first since losing his ODI place, Roach has lined up his quarry once more, defeating him with a snorting delivery in the first innings of the Trinidad Test on the way to five wickets. There will be another few spars between the duo for the remainder of the series, and further slim scores for Ponting will give the national selectors cause for alarm about retaining him when Australia face South Africa in Test matches at home in November. Roach, however, is not losing any sleep over being implicit in bringing twilight to Ponting's career.

"Ricky Ponting's a great batsman, a legend of cricket. To get that wicket, on a difficult pitch, easy for batting, it's very good. I'll keep coming at him, that's my job, and I want to do it to the best of my ability," Roach said. "I say he's a challenge, I won't say I have the wood on him, he's a great batsman, I respect what he's done in cricket, but I have a job to do for my team. If that's to run at him, then I'm going to do it.

"It's up to him [if he keeps playing]. If you want to be a good bowler you have to challenge yourself against the best batsmen. So I enjoy the challenge. Any good batsman in the world to get their wicket helps to build your confidence as well."

Before departing for the West Indies, Ponting had claimed that their joust was largely responsible for Roach's swift acquisition of global notoriety and a rich IPL contract, and also indicated that he felt much better equipped to handle Roach in 2012 than he had been in 2009. "He probably owes me a little bit actually because he hit me on the elbow last time out here and I probably got him about a $1.5 million IPL deal as a result of that," Ponting said with a grin last month. "I feel a bit more in control of my game than I did last time they were out here so it will be a good contest, not just for me but for the rest of our batting group."

Roach said he had provided the best possible response to Ponting's gentle ribbing by claiming his wicket, and would be seeking to do so again before the series is out. He also felt he had "matured a lot" since their first meeting.

"He can say what he wants to say. I had to bowl the ball. I got the wicket, so that was it," Roach said. "I have no problem with that. Obviously it's a challenge and I like the challenge and I'm going to keep putting my best foot forward."sign.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Meety on (April 19, 2012, 2:21 GMT)

@Aussasinator - so much in such a small comment, apart from the fact you missed the point of Front Foot's comment - he was BAGGING Ponting - LOL! Secondly, you conveniently forget that in between England's last 3 Ashes wins, was the small matter of an Historic 5nil whitewash - no surprises you forgot that one, typical! @coolindianfan/& others - I won't knock fine batsmen like Dravid or SRT to promote Ponting's stats. They were all fine batsmen, I actually don't believe that Indian pitches are flat, (except when it is India v Pakistan), they are low & slow & take turn (as a broad generalisation). A skill is required to perform on those pitches, if it was easy all non-Indian batsmen would have higher averages in India than elsewhere, generally that is NOT the case. I would say that Ponting's domineering batting contributed heavily to wins by giving McGrath & Warne some scoreboard pressure & time to win matches.

Posted by samsez on (April 17, 2012, 19:24 GMT)

come on guys ponting cannot be haunted. its just that his reflexes have weakened these days. no comparison with sachin as his reflexes are still going great guns. dravid is good but he belongs to another set of players. sti;; i believe that ponting can give little treatments to west indian emergent bowlers on flat pitches. after all he is ponting from good old days.

Posted by Aussasinator on (April 17, 2012, 18:22 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge. Are you kidding? England (especially Anderson, Bresnan and Swann) would be hoping for Ponting to be in the Oz team for the Ashes. After all, his presence won England their last 3 Ashes on the trot. English cricket owes a lot to Ponting and they will demonstrate that by winning it for the 4th time.

Posted by   on (April 17, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

Great Batsman, one of the greatest in this era ! So was Lara & Dravid. Enough is enough. He should stop embarassing himself. He should have retired at the end the Indian Tour in Australia as in "bowing out with your head high"instead of in shame. The Australian selectors gave him a hint when they dropped him from the Limited Overs team, apparently he failed to comprehend. This time, they will drop him in the middle of a tour in the West Indies, a team who is nearer to the bottom of the Test Table, than the top. This is what you call the "ALIridiculous !!"

Posted by jayantas on (April 17, 2012, 15:38 GMT)

@Attractivue: I am an Indian fan, and this is what I have to say in response to your comment that Ponting is better than both Sachin & Dravid because they "only made runs on placid slow dusty wickets of India!" Sachin's away test record: 106 tests, 8705 runs @54.74 (which is only a little less than his "home" average of 56.37) with 29 hundreds. Dravid's away test record: 94 tests, 7690 runs @53.03 (which is nearly two points MORE than his "home" average of 51.35) with 21 hundreds. Ponting's "away" and "neutral" test records combined: 75 tests, 5679 runs @46.55 (which is more than 12 points LESS than his home average of 58.95) with 18 hundreds. I guess you don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out who is the real "home tiger" here! This is just to respond to you - no offense to Ponting, he is a truly great player!

Posted by pr3m on (April 17, 2012, 14:45 GMT)

Doesn't Ponting say that every time? Every interview ever, all he talks about is how much better he is now than he was "then".

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (April 17, 2012, 14:28 GMT)

You only have to put 'Ponting' 'England' and 'Ashes' in the same sentence to send a shiver down the spines of any Australian fans!

Posted by coolindianfan on (April 17, 2012, 14:24 GMT)

chicko1983-"Please check out how many runs are scored in the batting friendly subcontinent compared to the bowler friendly Australian wickets" .So logically if subcontinent pitches are batting friendly then Aussie pitches. Then pointing would have had scored more runs in subcontinent then in Australia right?He was ordinary to say the least .If centuries dont win u matches its disheartening but you shouldnt take away credit from the batsmen? How can u conclude Pointing is better then sachin or Dravid . Pointing himself mentioned that Sachin is the greatest batsmen of his era.As far as stats are concerned both Dravid and Pointing are at power . They can be compared as Border and Gavaskar.Its not about sub continent and Aussie pitches its about getting out of your comfort zone .let that be australia of subcontinent.Although no one can take credit away from pointing that he is a great of his era.But that said Dravid is up there with him.

Posted by   on (April 17, 2012, 13:49 GMT)

@Attractivue - Ponting is better than Sachin and Dravid both? how did you arrive on that? Even without stats - SRT shone in a team where he was possibly the only world class player, in pretty much all conditions, all formats and against top bowlers. That said, Ponting is a legend in his own right, whose win-loss ratio looks more impressive 'cuz he had Slater, Hayden, Langer, Martyn, Gilchrist, Katich, Hussey etc. to work with - and Warne, McGrath etc. to provide full value to his runs. Put into perspective then, someone like Inzamam - whose hundreds had higher win% in an inferior team. SRT should've retired from ODIs last April, Ponting should've retired from tests. Also, playing on dusty, slow turners is as much a test of technique as pacy, bouncy wickets. That's precisely why experts rate Ponting's 123 (Bangalore -2008) or SRT's 114 (Perth -1992) highly. It's about performing outside your comfort zone: Roach's pace, has put Ricky outside his, testing his slowing reflexes ..

Posted by drice on (April 17, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

@chicko. Your stats are correct, but your logic is grossly flawed. If Ponting had been in a team with those Indian bowling attacks, he would definitely not have the record for the most runs in wins. You are belittling other batsmen on the basis of the teams around them. What you have said is if Ponting was Zimbabwean that he'd be less of a batsman. One batsman alone cannot make a team great (or two for that matter). Ponting's most runs in wins have alot to do with people named Langer, Slater, Waugh, Warne, McGrath. You can't say one batsman is better than another based on team results. As for dead subcontinent pitches, why can't English batsmen make runs on them if they are so batting friendly?

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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