Bangalore: ESPNcricinfo, the world’s leading cricket website, has honoured Ricky Ponting as cricket’s Player of The Decade for the 2000s while simultaneously announcing the nominations for the third annual ESPNcricinfo Awards.
Ponting was selected as Player of the Decade by ESPNcricinfo’s panel of 38 current and former players, commentators, cricket writers and other insiders.
The ESPNCricinfo Awards annually honour the best individual performances by batsmen and bowlers in Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 matches for the preceding year. They comprise two unique sets of awards – one subjective, voted by a jury, and a second that is based on statistics.
Player of The Decade: Ricky Ponting
Ricky Ponting was selected as Player of the Decade, beating out a field filled with the sport’s elite competitors. Over the past decade, he has scored more runs and centuries in both forms of the game than any other batsman in this decade and is the only player to go past the 9000-mark in both forms. He scored 55 centuries in international cricket, 13 clear of second-placed Sachin Tendulkar and was one of only three batsmen (Kallis and Mohammad Yousuf were the others) to average more than 58 in Tests.
The all-star jury that selected him was asked to pick their top three cricketers of the 2000s. Each number one vote fetched three points; a number two vote, two points, and a number three vote one point. Ponting earned 60 points, beating out Kallis who finished second with 37 points.
“To be recognised as Cricinfo’s Player of the Decade is a great honour and a great thrill,” said Ponting on learning of the honour. “The thing that I’m proudest of over my whole career is the amount that I’ve played and how long I’ve played. When I played my hundredth Test, I said that the one thing that I’m most proud of has been the longevity of my career and the fact that I’ve been able to play at a pretty high level for a long period of time.”
Ponting added, “I have played in an era where there’s been a lot of great players. Some of the leading run-scorers of all time have played in my time and a lot of the leading wicket-takers of all time have played in my time as well. When you stack that up – to be recognised as the leading player in the decade against some of those other guys makes it a little bit more special.”
Added Tony Greig, the former England captain turned commentator, “Ricky Ponting has been the stand out batsman of the decade. His mountain of runs combined with the speed at which he has scored them in both formats of the game also makes him one of the most pleasing batsmen to watch.”
Ramiz Raja, former Pakistan captain, said, “Ricky Ponting takes the attack to the opposition and bosses the game from the word go and then carries this aggressive mindset to the field as a captain. His cricket philosophy is attack and win, which makes Australia still the team to beat.”