Ricky Ponting is one of the most decorated players to ever don the Baggy Green. Boasting more records than any other player in Australian history, Ponting has scored the most Test and ODI runs for his country, has had the most wins as a player, a captain and has taken the most catches by a non-wicket-keeper.
Born in Tasmania, Ponting played cricket from an early age and came from a strong cricket-playing family. He earned a sponsorship contract while just in eighth grade and quickly rose to the major leagues.
Ponting's domestic performances were rewarded when he was selected for the Australian ODI team to play in all the matches in the 1995 New Zealand Centenary quadrangular tournament in New Zealand, that also included South Africa and India. Ponting made his debut against South Africa at number six in the batting order. He scored one from six balls, as Australia successfully chased South Africa's target on a difficult batting track. Australia secured another victory in their next match, this time against New Zealand in Auckland, where Ponting scored 10 not out, after coming to wicket late in the innings. His highest series score came in the third International where Australia lost to India in Dunedin. Ponting was promoted to number three in the batting order and responded by scoring 62 from 92 balls.
Throughout Australia’s “Golden era”, Ponting was Australia's mainstay in the batting line-up. In Australia, he is regarded as their best batsman since Don Bradman, and the numbers back up that claim quite emphatically. Only Tendulkar has more runs in Tests and ODIs, and till recently, he had the second-most centuries in both formats too, till Kallis went past him in Tests. Among Australians, Ponting's Test aggregate is easily the highest, though his average has fallen marginally below Greg Chappell's, Ponting scored almost 4000 runs more than the next-best Australian.
Perth may not be Australia's most historic ground, but in a way it'll be fitting that Ponting's Test journey started here 17 years ago: a rough lbw call stopped him four short of a debut century, against Sri Lanka, but since then not much has come in the way of his appetite for runs. Even when he took over as captain, it didn't diminish from Ponting the batsman: he averaged 51.51 in Tests and 42.91 in ODIs over a long captaincy stint.
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