Ponting under Pressure
The first test match between India and Australia starts today at Mohali and Ricky Ponting finds himself in a situation which he was not accustomed in the past as he finds himself at a stage of his career where there is enormous pressure on him to deliver as skipper and teams premier batsman.
If one were to look at the situation in 2006 Ricky Ponting was in exceptional form with the bat and one must say that more than the opposition bowlers it was millions of Indian cricket fans who felt the heat of Ricky Ponting's extraordinary run with the bat when he scored 24 test centuries between 2002 to 2006 . Sachin Tendulkar and millions who follow Indian cricket felt at that point of time that Ricky Ponting would break Sachin Tendulkars record even before the latter calls it quits. However things have changed and while Sachin Tendulkar is in the midst of an extraordinary run with the bat Ricky Ponting's record has been dismal since 2007 if one looks at his batting average which is given below:-
Year and Batting Average
2010 43.27 (average boosted by an innings of 209 which started with Ponting dropped on zero)
If you look at the above stats Ricky Ponting has been lucky to find a place in any team in the world leave alone a Australian side which sets high standards and one must admit that Ponting has been in the team only because of his captaincy and experience. What complicated matters was the fact that the retirement of Aussie legend Adam Gilchrist, Mathew Hayden, Damien Martyn and company weakened a once famed batting line up and Ponting finds himself in a role he has never been accustomed to his career. In the past one was accustomed to see a dominating Ponting with the luxury of a Mathew Hayden ahead of him in the order and the likes of Adam Gilchrist down the order but now with no cushion of a strong line up he has forced to become a grafter something which is unnatural to him.
While the retirements of Adam Gilchrist, Mathew Hayden and others weakened the famed Aussie batting line up the retirement of Shane Warne and Glenn Mcgrath meant that Australians are no longer capable of picking 20 wickets to win a match and at best he can hope to draw matches. Ponting's failure as a captain is directly related with his failure with the bat because once Ponting the teams only world class batsman fails Aussies get bowled out cheap and that is taken advantage of even second string teams from England and Pakistan.
Another thing which works out Ricky Ponting is the fact that while he averages 54.66 in his career his average against India dips to 47.02. Ricky Pontings performance in India is mediocre at 20.85 per innings and that itself is enough to put him on the bat even before a ball is bowled in this series and the only thing which may work in Ponting's favour is the law of averages. Ricky Ponting's counterpart at No.3 Rahul Dravid too is the midst of a poor run averaging just 19.00 in 2010 in test matches while averaging just 41.33 against Australia but Rahul Dravid unlike Ricky Ponting has the luxury of the likes of Virender Sehwag at the top or order and the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and V V S Laxman down the order.
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