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June 26, 2008
Ricky Ponting will play his 300th one-day international on Friday and West Indies should be worried. Arguably no player has lifted as consistently for his milestone matches as Ponting, which is peculiar as he insists such landmarks mean little to him. Ponting made centuries in his 50th, 150th and 250th ODIs, as well as a half-century in his 100th one-day international and a pair of hundreds in his 100th Test.
In Grenada he will join Steve Waugh as the only Australians to appear in 300 one-day internationals and Ponting said it was yet another achievement that he would not truly appreciate until after he retired. "It's all probably something I'll look back on when I'm finished and be proud of," Ponting told AAP. "I've never been one to even talk about such things in the rooms or anything like that.
"I said when I played 100 Tests I was probably as proud of that achievement as anything else, being in the game for that long. So again, I guess this is a good achievement because it says that you've been in the game for a long time."
Although Ponting claims not to remember his mammoth efforts in milestone games, they have been so frequent that it is hard to believe they are coincidences. His highest ODI score of 164 came in his 250th match, the Johannesburg game that will mostly be remembered for Australia scoring a world-record 434 then having it chased down by South Africa. Until that point his best one-day score was 145, posted against Zimbabwe in his 50th ODI.
In his 100th he managed 50 against Pakistan, he scored 119 against England in his 150th game, and in his 100th Test he starred with 120 and 143 at the SCG against South Africa. On this Caribbean tour he has already passed 10,000 Test runs but it was one of his least remarkable landmark performances that Ponting remembers most, when he made 10 in Harare in his 200th ODI.
"I remember Tim Nielsen, who was the assistant coach at the time, making up a shirt and drawing something in black texta all over a white T-shirt and then presenting it in the warm up to me," Ponting said. "That was about as good as it gets."
At 33, Ponting has plenty of time ahead of him to build on his memorable - or for him, forgettable - milestone achievements. For now, he just wants to end a slight dip in ODI form that has resulted in single-figure scores in his past four innings, while West Indies are hoping that history does not repeat when he joins the 300 club on Friday.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Why the Indian opener would be well advised to shelve the hook and pull in Australia