Saturday, March 26, 2011

Good Bye to a Bloody Mean Champion Cricketer !

A lot of people are rejoicing the fall of a Champion.
Let Australia sulk. Stronger or weaker, they will come back.
But there was one man who went out tonight perhaps for the last time in a World Cup.
I never liked Ponting. His earliest claim to fame was on a juniors tour of India when he flayed all the junior Indian bowlers. Many of them never played senior Cricket. Then he made more news for pub brawls than for his on field exploits. Ever since he made his debut, I had a special dislike for him.
I disliked Ponting because…
He had the best team playing with him or under him through most of his career.
He blasted India in the 2003 World Cup Final and that scar can’t heal. Not even after this win.
He had Shane Warne and Glen McGrath giving him wickets whenever he wanted.
He was the most prolific scorer in the new millennium and not Sachin.
He almost threatened to overtake Sachin at one time and break most of his records.
He had three World Cups in his kitty and two of them as as Captain.
But most importantly, he had never lost a World Cup match as a Captain.
I hated Ponting because…
He had transgressed the spirit of Cricket more often than anyone could care to remember.
But he somehow escaped with much lighter punishment than others, especially Asians.
He lead from the front all the unholy activity during the infamous Sydney Test in 2008.
Forget walking, he regularly contested Umpiring decisions and mostly escaped Scott free.
And most importantly for never walking but expecting opponents to ‘walk’ !
There can be a million reasons to dislike Ponting and hate Ponting.
But he was a Genius without a doubt. A flawed Genius if there is one.
For one who had not lost a single World Cup match and had overseen annihilation of all the 3 South Asian Teams in 3 successive World Cup Finals, Ponting went out against 3 South Asian Teams. He couldn’t beat any one of them this time.
Sri Lanka were in a very good position before the rains intervened.
Pakistan gave Ponting the first taste of World Cup defeat in a dozen years.
And India knocked him and his team out of the World Cup tonight.
He was under pressure from all corners. For the LCD episode. For the Steve Smith episode. For not walking. For talking. And for being Ricky Ponting ! But what a way to go. He was out of form for longer than even Rahul Dravid. Boy, did he choose a match to strike form ? He couldn’t have done anything more or better. He and his team just ran into a slightly better team on the day.
Ricky Ponting has tormented Indians for so long and so badly, it is a relief to see him walk away into sunset or to hell.
But before that, let us say gracefully…
He was such a bloody mean Champion Cricketer !
And he went out with his head held high !
Good bye Ponting !
Govind Raj Shenoy for DieHard Cricket Fans

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