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Ricky Ponting

All bets are off

Will the one-time gambler, all-time champion, sometime goatee-wearer ever stop spitting into his palms? No one's holding their breath

© Ashish Padlekar


Why Punter?
For his love of a punt, obviously. Our Ponting is a greyhounds man, and his love of a bit of a gamble earned him the name from legendary nickname-assigner and leggie Shane Warne.

In a nutshell
All-conquering Aussie captain and dynamo one-down, reckoned by many to be the greatest Australian batsman since you-know-who. A spiky one is our Punter - even if much reformed - who loves cricket, batting, winning and gambling on greyhounds (not necessarily in that order). He also once had a goatee.

If Ponting was Cullinan, his Warne would be…
Harbhajan Singh. The Turbanator has tormented Punter since he first dismissed him in Sharjah over 10 years ago and sent him off with a few bits of advice. Since then he has dismissed him 11 more times, including all five times in the epic 2001 Test series. Once asked why he has been so effective against Punter, Bhajji replied, "He hasn't batted for long enough against me, so I don't know." Ouch.

Most overlooked bowler to have also dismissed Ponting 12 times
Chaminda Vaas. No, really.

Is the greatest export from Tasmania since…
The Devil. And David Boon.

Used to be what? Really?
Real trouble. Before he became the statesman-like captain (okay, not really) of Australia and the most marketable sports personality in the country, he used to be real trouble. He was involved in a brawl outside the Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar in Sydney, after which he admitted to an alcohol problem. The same year he was also involved in a fracas in a Kolkata nightclub, though Harbhajan Singh was not thought to be at the venue.

Writer who will not be ghosting Ponting's autobiography
Peter Roebuck.

What not to do when Ponting is around
Take a single.

What not to do when Ponting is around II
Shake his hand. Not after the amount he spits into them while standing in the slips.

If he were US President, he would be
George "Dubya" Bush.

The smartest move he ever made
To get rid of his mid-90s goatee.

The one concept he just can't get his head round
The Spirit of Cricket. In Nagpur, it means letting India off the hook by trying to better his side's over-rate. Sometimes it means claiming catches that have been grounded, constantly hectoring umpire's decisions, and even pushing cricket officials off-stage after winning a tournament. Other times it means letting England bat first on a pearler after your best bowler has just crocked himself. Plenty of appearances in front of the match referee to ask for a definition clearly haven't worked.

Person he will not be dancing with at the Ashes 2005 reunion this summer
Gary Pratt.

What he and Duncan Fletcher (on a balcony) did not famously do in 2005
Recreate Romeo and Juliet.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

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