With over 27, 000 international runs, former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting is undoubtedly one of the greatest batsmen of all time. He is also the most decorated skipper of all time. The legendary batsman is currently in India to promote his home state of Tasmania as its brand ambassador. Interacting with the media, the retired cricketer spoke on various topics including the much-debated topic of the best batsman in the world now, the comparison between Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli and much more.
On the current best batsman in the world:
To tell you the truth, I don’t really care. I just love to see all these guys playing (Kohli, Smith, Williamson and Root). There are a number of current players who are probably on a similar career path.
Kohli probably has got age on his side. His ODI career till this stage has been incredible. We also know what he did in last year’s IPL (hitting four hundred). He is an ultra-skilled and talented player. More importantly, he has got the attitude to want to be the best he can be and wants to lead his country in the best way possible.
Smith and Williamson are in the same boat. Whoever I guess masters the mind games the best will be the one who ends up with the best career record.
On the comparison between Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar :
I would say let’s wait till Virat finishes his career. Virat is still very young. He could have a bad injury tomorrow and not play another game and then probably there will be no comparison with Sachin having played 200 Tests and Virat 50 or 60 odd. So there will be no comparison.
On the proposed two-tier system in Tests:
Look I am all for adding as much context to all formats of the game as possible. The Test championship and the two division competition have been talked about for a long time and here we are now, still have not been able to come up with the right program.
I think the question is more important for ODI cricket than Tests. ODI cricket is the format which is lacking the most context at the moment. You have a one-off series, like Sri Lanka played Australia recently. It doesn’t mean anything. Both teams want to win the series but there is nothing else riding on it. It is a great challenge (to come up with the right program for all formats).
On Anil Kumble’s appointment as the head coach of the Indian team:
Anil’s appointment has been a good one for Indian cricket. He has been one of the stalwarts of the game. He has obviously had great success both as player and captain. I got the chance to work with him at Mumbai Indians. He has got a great knowledge of the game. But it is down to the players to say and comment how great he is a coach. From the outside, you have no idea.
On Kohli taking over captaincy in all three formats:
It is up to the BCCI, what they think about having separate captains. It also depends on whether Dhoni thinks it is the right time to step aside. It doesn’t seem like that he is going to retire anytime soon. It seems he has still got the passion and desire to captain India in limited overs format. As far as captaining in all format is concerned, I would say it does take a toll on you. It (whether you okay with it or not) depends on the kind of character you are as captain. Steve Smith is captaining in all three formats. It is a great challenge.
On day-night Tests and how the modern-day batsmen are not as technically sound:
We all know Test cricket has been on the wane in recent times. So you have to try something different. We have had (day-night Test) once in Adelaide last year. Once again I am all for what fans and administrators think is right for the game. If the fans want day-night Test cricket, then the players and administrators have to do all to deliver it to them.
Having said that, some players have been a little negative about day-night cricket, as it is not traditional way the game is played. But if fans are telling us that they want something different, then it needs to be taken seriously. I feel more interaction is needed with general public and administrators of the game. To me, that question (what they want to see) has not yet been answered by the public.
On the impact of T20 on the current generation:
The Test match techniques of our young players are probably not where it used to be. When I played the game, I learnt first how not to get out and then accumulate runs. These days the guys are not worried about getting out. That is why you see some of them struggling in foreign conditions.