Saturday, October 3, 2009


Only the third batsman to amass 12,000 runs in one-day cricket, Australian skipper Ricky Ponting says he is chasing the benchmarks set by veteran Indian Sachin Tendulkar.

Ponting, after scoring a match-winning unbeaten 111-run knock against England last night to take Australia to their second successive Champions Trophy final, paid tribute to Tendulkar, who is completing 20 years in international cricket this November.

"The number of innings of his I have been able to sit back and watch, I think he is an amazing player. Look at his stats and records and it's quite incredible for someone to have stayed in the game for 20 years," Ponting said."He has set benchmarks for guys like me to chase him and get as close as we can. If I had to last 20 years, I would probably be batting in a wheelchair," he quipped.

Ponting is the first Australian and the third overall, after Tendulkar and Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya, to score 12,000 runs in one-dayers.

Tendulkar and Ponting, in fact, are the two biggest achievers in batting in contemporary cricket.

Tendulkar has played 159 Tests and scored 12773 runs with 42 centuries and 53 half centuries at an average of 54.58 runs. In one-dayers, he has turned out in 430 matches and scored 16903 runs with 44 hundreds and 91 fifties, averaging 44.48.

Ponting, on the other hand has played 136 Tests and scored 11345 runs with 38 centuries and 48 half centuries, averaging 55.88. In one-dayers, he has turned out in 323 matches, scored 12043 runs and hit 28 centuries and 70 fifties, averaging 43.32.

Both Tendulkar and Ponting no longer play Twenty20 internationals for their countries.

"It is a nice achievement but I had no idea before the game how many runs I had scored. I hit runs for my country and when my career is over I can reflect on the successes," Ponting said.

After Friday's win, Ponting lauded the younger members of his team for contributing to side's unbeaten run in the ongoing event.

"We have made it to the finals with relatively young guys. Michael Clarke is missing and so is Nathan Bracken. We are peaking at the right time for the finals," Ponting, shared a 252-run stand with Shane Watson (136) last night, said.

For the last five years, Australia has won everything the ICC has put on stake except for the Twenty20 World Cup. Ponting said he takes pride in the side's performance.

"The key I think is the mix we bring of youth and experience. When senior guys take responsibility, it allows younger guys to learn and find feet at international level," he said.

"We are playing at a level which would win us the big games. We look to play best cricket when it matters," Ponting added.

Ponting's own form has won him all-around admiration and the right-hander credited it to the brief break he took after the Ashes debacle this summer.

"I took 10-12 days break after the England tour and since I have returned, I feel I am batting really well. I am able to achieve a lot of control in the middle."

Ponting rated the wicket used in Friday's game as the best by far in this tournament.

Man of the match Watson, meanwhile, praised his skipper for the role he played in the middle.

"Ricky helped me a lot. In the middle period, when I was finding my feet against slower bowlers, his presence was very useful," he said.

"Previously I used to get overawed in big games. I am happy now that I was able to put together a big effort today, especially with the bat," he added.


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