Viv Richards has hailed Ricky Ponting’s brashness and “show-no-fear” attitude as among his greatest traits, and Shane Warne has lauded Ponting’s habit of making runs when Australia most needed them.
Ponting bade farewell to Test cricket with Australia’s loss to South Africa in Perth this week and today, Warne and Richards, in Melbourne in the lead-up to tomorrow night’s Big Bash League opener, reflected on Ponting’s 17-year Test career.
“Certainly he’s up there with the very best,” Richards said.
“What I love about him more than anything else, you look at the way he walks out to the crease. He always has presence. There is a tenaciousness about him. He walks out and believes. He’s not going to be intimidated by no one. I would like guys like that. I appreciate seeing guys who come out and have a particular presence.”
The same words could have been used to describe Richards, one of Wisden’s five cricketers of the century, a man who never wore a helmet and stared down fast bowlers all over the world while nonchalantly chewing his gum.
Although the careers of the two men did not overlap – Richards retired from Test cricket four years before Ponting made his debut – Richards saw plenty of Ponting’s batting and was impressed by the attitude he displayed from his very first match in 1995.
“A young batter who wants to make it, you cannot feel like you have one foot in and one foot out,” Richards said.
“You’ve got to make that crease your house. Ricky always made the crease his house. I’ve always been in his corner as a player because of that brashness, he’s an in-your-face sort of guy. Show no fear. Batsmen sometimes can be intimidated by a guy from how far he runs up, but you just put that at the back of your mind and bat with what you have. Ricky, to me, certainly did that.” (Cricinfo)