It has been much of a glorious year for Virat Kohli, India’s Test captain and the Indian Cricket Test team in general.
Kohli has been able to break some records, equal some others, and break some new records as well.
With his recent career best of 235 runs, Kohli joined the elite list of players who had scored three or more double centuries in the course of a calendar year as he became the fifth player so far.
There are now five batsmen who hold the record, with Michael Clarke, leading the pack with a total of four double centuries in a calendar year.
The rest of the players holding that record includes Ricky Ponting, Brendon McCullum and Don Bradman.
Also, Kohli became the third captain to score three doubles in a year. The other two captains are the duo of Michael Clarke, who achieved the record in 2012, and McCullum in 2014.
Mumbai Indians might not have made the playoffs in IPL, but, some of the things that Ricky Ponting did while being in charge of them this season did not harm his stature as a tactician at all.
One of the moves of the Aussie legend was quite weird when of all the people sitting in the hut; he chose the no. 11 Mitchell McLenaghan to bat four against Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens.
If you want big hitting, you have got names like Jos Buttler and Kieron Pollard and in case you want only a pinch hitter, there is an option in Harbhajan Singh who has done it for Mumbai once or twice already.
McLenaghan doesn’t bat higher than 10-11 even for his province side back in New Zealand. So, why would you have somebody like him ahead of all the other reputed personnel, that’s what everyone was wondering.
But, when Rohit Sharma explained the coach’s point of view later on, it made some sense and, also showed how much of an alert and instinctive character Ponting is.
According to Rohit, Ponting’s view was that Kolkata had a left arm spinner and a leg spinner in operation at that stage and it was comparatively easier for a southpaw to hit them.
The moving ball has been a problem for the Aussie batsmen in the recent past.
In countries like England and South Africa, whenever the ball has swung or has nipped off the pitch, they have been found out.
But, in the first test against New Zealand in Wellington, they put on an improved show and batted very well on a green deck.
The critics would obviously say that they were lucky enough to be able to win the toss and insert New Zealand and it might have been a different scenario if they had batted first.
Yes, it might have been, that’s right, but, when the Aussies came in to bat in the first session of the second day, there was still a lot of green on the wicket and the ball was doing a little bit, maybe not as much as it was doing on the first morning, but, the bowlers definitely had something to work with.
The Australian top order, however, handled those conditions a lot better than how they had done handled it in England on their last Ashes tour.
In England, the Aussies were pretty loose and were trying to put bat on ball all the time and had almost forgot that there is a “Leave-Alone” shot as well in the Cricket text book.
But, in Wellington, there was enough patience shown by David Warner & his mates in the top order as they shouldered arms regularly against the new ball and bided their time.
Ricky Ponting scored 48 runs for Warne’s Warriors in the first game of the ongoing All-stars series.
Ponting came to bat at the fall of Matthew Hayden’s wicket in the third over and made sure that he batted through to guide his team to the modest target of 141.
The target was actually well within the reach of the Warriors when they started their innings on the short ground, but, Shoaib Akhtar bowled a hostile spell with the new ball and did not let the openers get to a flier.
Ponting was circumspect against Shoaib first up and let his spell pass before he started taking the slightly aggressive route and went for a few shots.
He knocked the spinners around in the post power play period and made sure he was there at one end to let others bat around him.
The required run rate climbed up a little bit in the middle though when Muttiah Muralitharan bowled a couple of economical overs, but, Ponting was never fazed and his job was made easy at the end by Jonty Rhodes who came and finished the innings with a flurry of sixes including a switch hit off the bowling of the opposition captain Sachin Tendulkar.
Ponting could not win the player of the match award though. It went to Shane Warne who had shown his artistry in leg spin bowling earlier to get three wickets on a flat surface.
Ricky Ponting reckons a different brand of Cricket balls should be used in the domestic set up in Australia.
Currently, it’s the Kookaburra balls which are in use in first class Cricket down under, but, according to the Punter, there is a need to consider using Dukes as they would pose more challenges to the batsmen and would ultimately help them getting their techniques tightened up.
The Dukes have the reputation to swing for a bigger length of time than the Kookaburras which hardly swing.
Apart from the balls, the other thing that Ponting is not happy about is the fact that the pitches at almost all the venues in Australia are getting flatter and flatter.
In the views of the most successful Australian captain till date, the batsmen should be put in difficult batting conditions from time to time so that they do not get exposed badly when they tour overseas especially to the countries like England.
On their recent Ashes tour, the Kangaroos were bowled out for 136 and 60 respectively in their first innings in the third and the 4th test match and those two batting performances took the urn away from them.