Ricky Ponting, the highest run scorer for Australia is regarded as one of the most successful captains in the history of Cricket. He has already set a challenging benchmark as most successful captain in One Day International, winning 164 games out of 229 he captained. Apart from Ricky Ponting, Only Allan Border, and MS Dhoni are the captains winning more than 100 ODIs for their country. He ranks second in test cricket registering 48 wins, only after to Graeme Smith having 52 test wins. However, many specialists consider Steve Waugh, Clive Llyod, and MS Dhoni as a better captain than him since Ponting led the team in Australia’s golden era and he had the team comprising of world’s best specialists in each department of the game. Due to all these factors, Aussies were considered to be unbeatable during his tenure as a captain.
It is surprising to know that during his childhood, he was equally inclined toward Football before he broke the humerus in his right arm and never played competitive football ever again. His father Graeme and maternal uncle Greg Campbell introduced him professional cricket, out of them Campbell had represented Australia in 4 tests and 12 ODIs. He Played for Tasmania in domestic cricket before he made a debut to the International side in 1995. However, he struggled for few years to make a permanent place in the International squad due to lack of focus and consistency. Under the captaincy of Steve Waugh, he tasted first world cup victory as a player. During earlier 2000s he started shaping himself as a dependent and consistent batsman for the team. He got a reward of his performance in February 2002 when Steve Waugh was dropped due to being out of form and Ponting was nominated as a captain for ODI side, considering him ahead of Adam Gilchrist, then Vice Captain. He lived up to the expectations of selectors and in the very next year, he led Aussies to their third and second consecutive world cup title in absence of leg-spinner Shane Warne who was ruled out of the tournament after failing a drug test. World Cup Final 2003 was memorable for Ponting as he brutally smashed Indian bowlers scoring unbeaten 140 runs as Australia scored 359-2 in 50 Overs, the highest score in a world cup final and Indians lost the match by record 125 runs. Just after undefeated world cup campaign, Ricky Ponting led Australian team to 21 consecutive ODI wins, a world record. After the retirement of Steve Waugh, he took over the captaincy of test side also. During his test reign, his leadership was under scrutiny in few moments – Stumbles to India and South Africa, only captain to face three consecutive defeat in Ashes. He himself struggled a lot to score runs in Indian soil and getting trapped by the bowling of Harbhajan Singh, again and again. Despite all these factors, he overtook most test wins i.e. 41 by a captain and ended up at count 48, the record was later broken by Graeme Smith. Ponting, during his course of a career, became a player to witness maximum 108 test and 262 ODI Wins. The main highlight of his entire career was winning record 4 ICC trophies – 2 World Cups (2003 and 2007), ICC Champions Trophy (2006 and 2009). He holds a record of winning 27 consecutive world cup matches as captain including the unbeaten campaign of 2003 and 2007. He also owns an unwanted record of highest individual test score 242 (Vs. India at Adelaide ) in a losing cause. Apart from that, he has comes second in scoring most International centuries (71) after Sachin Tendulkar (100). He was declared “Cricketer of the decade 2000”. His T20 International record is not so impressive winning 7 out of 17 he captained and no World T20 trophy under his name. However, he played, captained and mentored Mumbai Indians in various seasons which include 2 winning trophies.
Many specialists may say he lacks Imagination as a captain but his records say it would be difficult to keep him out of top 3 Captains of all time, whatever permutation and combination we may apply. He gave Australian Cricket many glories as a captain as well as a player before he retired in 2012.
We wish him a very happy and prosperous Birthday and all the success in future. Happy Birthday, Punter!