Ricky Ponting: The Unsung Hero
More often than not, victories and achievements generate a passion in laymen to follow their greatest sporting idols. Sometimes a valiant effort, not necessarily a triumph, is enough to reinforce the belief and pride expressed in their role models.
Though my eyes were drenched with tears after the ignominious exit of Australia, my heart stood with its head high. The respect had escalated manifold for the man who in spite of putting his best foot forward, failed in his bid to capture a 4th WC title for his team. The man who has always kept his nation before himself. The man whose iron-willed ambitions wrapped up in a velvet glove made him one of the most successful captains of the world. The man was no other than the great Ricky Ponting.
This marked the end of his campaign in the World Cups but he proved again why is he deemed such a precious asset of the Australian team and the sport in general. Australia, for the first time, were tagged as the “underdogs” going into their quarterfinal match against the hosts and eventually they could not help but justify the tag that had been bestowed upon them.
Though a blistering century from the Tasmanian could not contribute towards a winning cause, yet amidst reports of his “lack-of-form” and “retirement plans” , it just unveiled his true mettle. It was not an imperious performance from the same Ponting who had mauled India in 2003 World Cup final with a blistering 140. But it was sensible cricket played by the Australian and a true masterclass! This was Ponting’s first international hundred in 13 months. What else could have he done? Wickets tumbled one after another but his grit didn’t. His determination didn’t wane. But the fortune was not destined to favor the brave this time.
The two Aussies- Ricky Ponting and Brett Lee- gave it almost everything they had left in their tanks to save the match, to save their campaign, their honor. Lee, who continued his last spell with a bandage over his right eye after a desperate dive to save a boundary which hit his head, was an epitome of what I call, the Aussie spirit-the spirit to fight till the end. They fought till the last ball was bowled but had to grapple with the inevitable thanks to a brilliant performance from the Indian team. The uproar over Ricky’s retirement has been too quick following their exit but a champion like him is irreplaceable. The Australian team along with all cricket fans throughout the globe, will have to wait for almost a life time for a leader of his caliber, a batsman of his character and a champion of his mettle.
“Some defeats are more victorious than triumphs”- I would never apply this theory here but still some people do have the ability to get crowned as heroes even in defeats.