The former Australian captain Rickey Ponting gives his thoughts on the Champions Trophy and his career in an exclusive interview with ICC.
One of the most uncompromising cricketers to have ever played the game, Ricky Ponting made over 27,000 international runs for Australia, with 71 hundreds. His sheer weight of runs, allied to the thrilling and courageous way in which he compiled them, arguably puts ‘Punter’ out on his own as the greatest of all post-war Australian batsmen.
Now part of the commentary team for the ICC Champions Trophy, he discusses the tournament so far, looks back on his playing days, and reveals where he sees the next step in his career.
The ICC Champions Trophy
The thing I’ve enjoyed the most has been the evenness of the teams. When we first started out we felt there was probably a gulf between some of the teams, but as it’s gone on it’s seemed like the teams are a fair bit closer than we’d imagined. I love the tournament as a whole, because it’s the best eight teams playing, it’s three weeks, and you’re guaranteed to be seeing some high-quality cricket. That’s the beauty of it.
The standout players
I’ve liked what I’ve seen of Hasan Ali; Ben Stokes played an amazing innings against Australia; Rohit Sharma’s always nice to watch when he’s playing well; Shikhar Dhawan’s been outstanding, and Kohli’s scoring runs. Outside of that, I don’t have much to report on the Australian players! They didn’t show too much at all.
Stars for the future
Hardik Pandya has shown glimpses of some real quality, and Hasan Ali’s only 23 years of age and new on the scene. I’d say these two have been the standout young players in the tournament.
His ICC Champions Trophy memories
The one we won in South Africa [in 2009] was pretty special. We played England in the semi-final and Shane Watson made a brilliant hundred to win us that game, and then we got through to the final against New Zealand, and that one ended up being a lot closer than we would have liked, but we got there in the end. That win was extra special, because Michael Clarke had been ruled out of the tournament, and Nathan Bracken was injured too, so to win that with some relatively young guys in the Australian set-up, players like Tim Paine and Peter Siddle, that was a real thrill. —ICC