Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Run-Machine Ricky Is Not Worried about Putting the Records Straight

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Run-Machine Ricky Is Not Worried about Putting the Records Straight

Article excerpt


RICKY PONTING stands in England's path to salvaging their Ashes here like a giant, sprawling road block. Every time you picture the prospect of a fightback, all you can see is this little figure with those quicksilver feet and with that utter certainty of stroke occupying the crease for hour upon hour.

He is due a failure but opponents have been counting on this for 18 months. All in vain. Ponting supposedly had a migraine at the wicket in Adelaide but still somehow battled through an indifferent start and Ashley Giles's generosity in the field to give England an insurmountable headache.

It has got to the point where his form is seen as so princely that you could almost believe the Australian captain's opposition is no longer England's bowed and beaten bowlers but the record books.

Typically, when interest in a one-sided series begins to wane in these parts, they get worked up over side issues and there is nothing like an idle comparison with 'The Don' to get the blood boiling.

So when no less a judge than Steve Waugh declared Ponting as the best player since Don Bradman, it was the signal for raucous debate. "Garbage, absolute garbage," was the retort of another batting legend, Neil Harvey, taking umbrage at the idea that Ponting's brilliance, which Waugh believes will eventually see him score an outlandish 50 Test hundreds, should see him elevated to the Don's right hand.

In the opinion of Harvey, one of Bradman's "Invincibles", Ponting (far right) wouldn't even have been good enough to make the 1948 side. "I can name plenty of players better," he said. "He's a good player,

sure, but he's got so many things in his favour now he should be averaging 60-plus. You've got covered wickets, flat wickets, ridiculously short boundaries and bats so jet-propelled that I think it's unfair. Even blokes who can't bat are hitting sixes."

Harvey has a point. These days, he is far from the only one to bemoan how bat technology and placid pitches appear to be permanently altering the balance of the game absurdly in batsmen's favour.

Geoff Lawson, the old Test paceman, is so alarmed that he has even commissioned a study from a physics professor to determine how much more effective bats are compared to those used only a decade ago. …

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