Thursday, 29 November 2012

Who writes Ponting's scripts?

The title says it all. When everything else is said and done, why do I watch cricket? For the narrative. In that narrative there are heroes and villains, and as an Englishman, one regular villain was that beady eyed squinting little man who pulled like no other and would never let himself be beaten.

Yet, in recent years, the runs turned from a flood into the occasional spurt, and Ricky Ponting began to look like a rather sorry figure. When he was injured for the final Ashes Test nearly two years ago, Michael Clarke took over the captaincy and Usman Khawaja seemed to be the man who would lock Pontings spot down, after the most talked about 37 in Test history.

Yet Ponting bounced back, and struggled through for another two years, with one huge series against India and several more middling ones. Then his story comes to an end, playing one last Test, against South Africa, for the number one status.

Graham Gooch once said of Ian Botham: "Who writes your scripts?" Well, Ricky's scripts were never like Botham's. He's scored the second most Test runs of anyone, has the most Test wins, yet at crucial times his script has wavered. He took over the best team in the world, and lost three Ashes series with it, and left it a long way off the top.

Maybe his storyline will have one "Who writes your scripts" moment. As an Englishman I have no love for Ponting, but I am a sucker for a storyline, and a 4th innings match-winning hundred to go back to number one, that would be a fitting way for a great player to go out.

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