This has been a big week of cricket, especially for two players in particular. It was a week which drew the curtain on the great career of Ricky Ponting as well as being the week where Alistair Cook broke two records.
For me Ponting is unlucky as he is playing in an era where it could be easy to forget his achievements because of players such as Tendulkar, Lara and Kallis. Despite having 41 test hundreads and 30 ODI hundreds he will only be considered the second greatest Australian batsman, after Sir Donald Bradman.
Being the captain after the great Steve Waugh he had massive boots to fill, this was the challenge that Ponting faced, a challenge which he successfully negotiated. In fact I think his period in charge of Australia was more successful than Waugh. The doubters of his captaincy will always say that he had an easy job as captain, because he had the best players on his side. This is undeniable that he had the best team, but the pressure of leading such a great team also has its burdens. These burdens did not once effect his batting form.
He was part of the team which won three world cups in a row, winning it twice as a captain. An aggressive captain on the pitch always made watching his side exciting. As with Waugh before him and Clarke after him, it seems that being the captain aided his batting performance allowing him to lead from the front.
My lasting memory of him will be the 2003 world cup final, where he destroyed all Indian bowlers especially Srinath in a brilliant display of power and technique. In England he will be remembered as the captain who lost three ashes, while the world will remember him as the captain with the most wins.
This guy seems to be getting better and better. It is even ludicrous to think that England considered not taking him to the last ashes tour because of poor form against Pakistan the series before. He is the heartbeat of this England side, the captain and the leader with the bat.
As captain he seems to be in his element, taking everything in his stride never once showing that he is flustered. Just like the new Australian skipper it seems that his form has improved as captain, it will be fascinating to see what happens in the ashes.
All that said it should be noted that he was dropped by Pujara on 17 runs today, and the bowling attack he is facing is not great. Cook is only 27 years old but has become the highest England century maker. He has one hundred more than Pietersen, who is the only player who could overtake him any time soon. The other record which he broke today was that he is the youngest player to score 7,000 runs. This is something, as he has broken Tendulkar’s record.
India gave him a second chance today, quite frankly that probably will be the difference of winning this match and loosing. It could possibly by the difference of drawing the series and loosing it. If his form stays as it is, he could guide England to a historic win in India, thus putting his name as a legendary captain after his first test tour.