Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lies, damned lies

Much ado is being made about Ricky Ponting's abysmal Test record in India, where he averages merely 12.28 runs per innings.

He has played 8 Tests, only one of them after that series in 2001. The lone Test since then, in 2004, was played on a spiteful pitch in Mumbai, where the match was done and dusted (pun intended) within 3 days, and of the 44 batsmen who got a chance to bat, only 3 crossed 50 (Laxman - 69, Tendulkar - 55, and Martyn - 55). So that match was an aberration and Ponting had a lot of good company fail with him.

By the time the 2001 series was done, Harbhajan Singh had twirled his way into Ponting's head.  At that point in time he had scored 2,492 runs at an average of 42.96 with just 7 centuries. Today, Ponting comes to India as (arguably) the best batsman in the world. The attacking, run-scoring, commanding, aggressive Ponting is a far-cry from the hesitant Punter from 7 years ago. In the 7 years since then he has scored 7,607 runs, at a mind-boggling average of 66.14 with 28 centuries.

The media has taken this horse and run with it.  The Indian media is gloating in his failings, while the Aussie media is playing up the salvation/redemption angle.

Ricky Ponting has 4 Test matches to change his average.  Recent form suggests that he will, as he averages a century once every 2.75 Tests since 2001.  The very same reporters who are (depending upon the perspective) praising the Indians for their dominance will bemoan the death of spin bowling, or will scream themselves hoarse comparing Ponting's resurrection with the phoenix.

But they need some "angle" for their stories and this is as good as any.  I will not read a single line/word of those articles, I promise.

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