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Jrod: Ricky Ponting, the statesman

August 5th, 2009 by JRod in England, Test cricket, The Ashes, The media

I have never been a huge fan of Ricky Ponting the captain.  That is probably an understatement. I have said he is not a captain’s asshole, called him a hairy-armed goblin and once convinced people he had stepped down from the captaincy with a spoof post.

I am not ready to take all that back, but one thing I have noticed in England is how much of a statesman he has become. The press (on both sides of the planet) has tried to manufacture conflicts about “aura” and the “spirit of cricket”, but watching his full press conferences, and his many public utterances, he has carried himself with a fair amount of dignity.

And I never thought I would write that about Ponting when he wasn’t batting.

After the loss at Lord’s his interview with Michael Atherton was very tastefully done. Athers gave him so many chances to lay the boot into Random Rudi or Andrew Strauss’ catch, and he didn’t.

With the “aura” nonsense (I think you’ll find they lost their “aura” about the time Cameron White was picked as the No.1 spinner) he calmly asked if Strauss had been asked directly about aura, found out he had, and then waved the question away.

It was a calmness he has only acquired recently when dealing with the media. He doesn’t have it with the India press contingent, and he didn’t have it in ’05. Something has clicked with Ricky, and now he can handle digging questions without looking like he is going to jump over the table and head-butt the journalist.

There is still a fire in him, something Bilal Shafayat and the door he allegedly cracked at Edgbaston will attest to. Now it seems to be mostly contained with the contest, and not with the off-the-ground nonsense.

In the past if the crowd booed him like the English have he would have got angry. Instead he can barely mention it without a smile on his face.

I am not saying he is suddenly a cuddly teddy bear (he does have the arms for it) that I would happily ask if Australia is only losing because he is a rubbish captain. But even if I did he would probably laugh it off, I hope.

This is the new Ponting, and there is a real reason people are calling him a pantomime villain. He isn’t a real villain at all.

Jrod is an Australian blogger, and now author. His book The Year Of The Balls 2008: A Disrespective is available now

Posted in England, Test cricket, The Ashes, The media | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Jrod: Ricky Ponting, the statesman”

  1.   Paddy Briggs says:

    In post match interviews Punter always mentions the other team and generally in flattering terms. Andrew Strauss finds it much more difficult to do this. Ponting is unfairly maligned by some commentators.

  2.   jrod says:

    Paddy, you are correct, Ponting has always been very flattering to the opposition. I was more talking about his demeanour in dealing with problems or the media.

  3.   It Ain’t Cricket at Great Moments of Sportsmanship says:

    [...] dignity and honour and he applauded the English team on their victory several times. Even some of Ponting’s critics acknowledge how in post match interviews he always mentions the other team and usually in [...]

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