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    January 05, 2006

    Three times three

    Ricky Ponting's century in his 100th test, following Inzamam's example against India last year, made me wonder about the similarities between him, Dravid and Kallis.

    I'd say that these three have been the most successful #3 batsmen in the last decade. They made their debuts in a span of six months and are in a similar age group. While Ponting and Kallis were fast-tracked into international cricket fairly soon, Dravid bided his time, playing a lot of domestic cricket and getting into the test side only when he was past 23. They've all played a similar number of tests. Ponting has 8000+ runs at an average of 56, Dravid averages 57 while Kallis has around 7500 runs at an average of 56. Eerily similar!

    Dravid has the highest %age of innings at #3 [80% or so] while Ponting has played around 70% of his innings in that position. Kallis has played just less than 50% of his innings at #3, but strangely enough, he has been more successful at #4. I've always had this feeling he was more suited to a typical #3 role. Ponting is the counter-attacking #3 while the likes of Dravid and Kallis are the innings-building #3s.

    It seems obvious to me that when Ponting retires, he will own the records for most runs and most centuries. Even if he doesn't improve his record in India, to me he will end up as an all-time great. For the same reasons that Warne is great in spite of India's batsmen mauling him repeatedly.

    Columns on Ponting (will be updated as and when I find content):
    Oliver Brett, Peter English, Chloe Saltau & Jon Pierik.
    Thus spake Jagadish @ 9:20 AM |
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    6 sledge(s):

    I can't put my finger on it, but for some strange reason its difficult to mention Ponting when talking about the greats of this era. Everyone seems to easily name Lara and Tendulkar and lately Dravid, Inzamam and Kallis in terms of batsmen, but Ponting's name doesn't come up that easily. There is no flaw in his record to suggest he shouldn't be one of the lot. I wonder why?

    By Anonymous Arjun (05-Jan-2006, 11:38:00 AM)  

    arjun: probably because ponting doesn't frequently face a situation of coming in to bat with the score reading 10/1 going on to become 35/3 etc. he plays in a lineup which has hayden and gilchrist and which had the two waughs in it. the retirement of the waugh brothers made him the best batsman in the side, by default [and performance of course!].

    By Blogger Jagadish (05-Jan-2006, 12:31:00 PM)  

    Arjun : It is also due to some extent that Ponting's name does not come up automatically because he is not that elegant say like a Mark Waugh or a Damien Martin. Ponting has all the strokes but nothing stands out as his trade mark (IMHO) and typically looks Aussie efficient and scores rapidly. His forte in the last few years has been just being a run machine. But, I think the primary point is that - he does not have to resurrect his team and hence there is not many - 'SAVING the SHIP' innings (since there is no need). Either his batsmen or the bowlers have already put Aus on top, invariably when he is bating.

    By Blogger Crick_Love (05-Jan-2006, 4:55:00 PM)  

    On a related point, I was listening to ABC and there was a discussion between Peter Roebuck and Glenn Mitchess (during Poting's inning) and they were talking about - who is the best 3 Aus batsmen after Bradman - The names given by Glenn Mitchell were - Greg Chappel, Neil Harvey and Ricky Ponting (Neither Border nor Steve Waugh were mentioned) and Peter agreed after some hesitation.

    By Blogger Crick_Love (05-Jan-2006, 4:59:00 PM)  

    Sorry about the typo in the above post - it should read Glenn Mitchell.

    By Blogger Crick_Love (05-Jan-2006, 5:01:00 PM)  

    crick_love: Ponting's pulling and cutting are pretty phenomenal shots. I can't think of too many batsmen today who pull _that_ well off the frontfoot _and_ the backfoot. Ponting did play a memorable 'Save the ship' innings at Old Trafford in the third test last year. As to who the best three Australian batsmen after Bradman are, it seems to me like Mitchell favoured flamboyance over dour batting, which probably explains Harvey's inclusion ahead of Border or Steve Waugh.

    By Blogger Jagadish (05-Jan-2006, 5:06:00 PM)  

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