Monday, 12 December 2011

Ricky Ponting- Retirement Days Near?

As Australia continued its bad run with a "Drawn" series against New Zealand. Australia lost the 2nd test by a mere 7 runs. Chasing 241, Australia ended up with 233 losing all their wickets with Warner stranded on 123. In the 2 recent series played by Australia, they have collpased to abnormally small scores 2 times. This is so unlike Australia. Against a weaker New Zealand attack at home, they managed just 136 in the 2nd test even lower than New Zealand's 150 in the 1st innings. Although this has been a complete Australian batting failure but Ponting's failures have drawn greater highlight. He was the man who used to always deny victory to the other teams and suddenly now he is the one who struggles almost everytime. And this has been happening for the past 2 years. So are retirement days near for Ponting? Or is there still cricket left in him?

Performance in last 2 years- The former and the most successful Australian skipper's performance in the last 2 years has been disappointing to say the least. He has been in very bad form over the last couple of years. Ponting has played 20 tests in the last 2 years and has scored just 1200 runs at an average of 33.33 with 7 half centuries and just 1 hundred! His overall career average is 52.29 which clearly shows the difference. And the lone hundred was a double which came against Pakistan in late 2009. That means not even 1 hundred since 22 months. In this period he was captain for 14 matches in which he averaged 36.28 with the double hundred and in the 6 matches he was stripped of captaincy his average further dipped to 26.63. Even relief from captaincy has not been able to change Ponting's fate. Australia in this period has won only 11 of its 20 matches having lost 7. And in the last 1 year they won just 4 having lost 4. So Australia is going down day by day and it seems that Cairne was not very wrong in his saying. Maybe Ponting is, a burden for the Australian team.

What's wrong?-  Punter's decline in the last 2 years has coincided with an Australian decline on a whole. As soon as Gilchrist, Hayden, Mcgrath, Warne and Langer retired, Australia's downfall had started. But the real blow was Australia's loss in the 2009 ashes in England. After that the wound was further aggravated by losing 2-0 to India and then the final nail in the coffin was drilled by England's ashes win in Australia in 2010. At that time Ponting was stripped of captaincy, he was not in form and Australian team was heavily criticized by the media. For almost 2 years form 2007-09 Ponting had held the team together by performing and winning matches in the absence of the big players mentioned above. But Australia's new generation was not as impressive as the stalwarts. As a result Ponting's lone battle started losing steam. He did not have ample support at the opening level, new bowlers were not taking wickets and the inexperienced middle order collapsed almost everytime. Even players like Clarke and Hussey were not in very good form. As a result even Ponting's performance declined too. Afterall a skipper is as good as his team. So that might be the reason why Ponting failed to deliver in the last couple of years.

Getting back- Before the series against South Africa this November, calls of Ponting's retirement were getting louder and louder. Further Australia's shocking 47 all out further made them even more loud. But since then Ponting has tried very hard to come back and boy he has succeeded too. In the 2nd test against South Africa chasing 310 on the 5th day at Wanderers, Ponting scored a resilient 62 off 138 balls to ensure South Africa did not get away with victory. The innings was scratchy and lacking in fluency but was extremely useful and was a match winning effort. And then again in the 1st test against New Zealand at the Gabba, Ponting scored 78 valuable runs to help Australia post a big total which in turn resulted in an Australian victory. So Ponting is slowly coming back into his groove. And incidentally this come back coincides with players like Clarke and Haddin's good form. So maybe Ponting needs just a,little bit of support from his team and the old days might be near again.

Ponting it seems is starting to find good form once again. Even Rahul Dravid said that Ponting should play and he has a lot of cricket left in him. Afterall who can be better than Dravid to understand his situation. Dravid was going through a similar phase in 2010 but has since come back strongly and emerged as the highest run getter in 2011. So maybe Ponting should take inspiration from him. I feel Ponting should continue playing until he finds his form back again and then should hang his boots. A player like him deserves to leave on a high and he should do so. Australia needs young blood to steer them out of this slump as the old ones are not going to stay forever. Lets hope the champion batsman finds form quickly and entertain us with his brilliant batting once again.

1 comment:

  1. I think that Ricky Ponting's retirement is around the corner actually, he does not show the same performance and he is not getting any younger to be honest