Sunday, March 12, 2006
Ricky Ponting has removed all doubts, if any, as to who is currently the best batsman with his inning of 164 in just 105 balls, which propelled Australia to the highest ODI total of 434 for 4. What makes it extra special is the timing of the inning. With Australia managing to come from behind to make it 2-2 after losing the first two games (and 20-20 match before that), Ponting has virtually sealed the fate of the series with his sensational inning. (and though Gibbs has just scored a wonderful century, South Africa still has a mountain to climb.) Three years ago, he did the same in the World cup final scoring 140 not out against India which helped Australia to 356 - the highest total in World cup final history. This man has an amazing sense for the occasion - who can forget his twin centuries in his 100th Test match, which gave Aussies 2-0 victory over South Africa.
Needless to say, he is in the purplest of the patches in his career and threatens to break the record for most no. of runs and centuries in Test matches in few years; if his amazing run over the last few years is considered. This article is just another statistical indication to it.
The loss of Ashes to England is perhaps the lowest point in his recent career. It may sound like a cliché; however it was the game which came out as the winner in the end. See some of these links - The comprehensive video clip with some quintessentially British comments, the Super slow motion musical video and the short video of the Ashes.
Continuing with Ashes series - just came across these lines from a song in The Lord of the Rings mentioned on Ajit's blog and thought they would very well apply to the resurgent English team.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
Some may claim that India-Pakistan series is now greater than the Ashes, but comparing the high-scoring and high-snoring draws with the exciting cricket played in Ashes is just absurd.
Anyway, almost everyone was happy seeing the rude and swaggering Australians losing for a change, which makes me wonder - why do we mix two separate virtues of winning ability and being modest? I am no exception to this tendency, but somehow it always strikes me as bit odd. To stretch this point bit further, I think it is not unfair that someone who is unscrupulous or immoral to be rich. This is something contradictory to our typical middle-class upbringing/ethos, but being ethical and being rich are two different things. It is pointless to wail that I have remained poor/middle-class despite being ethical all my life. Apart from the argument that goodness is its own reward, just being kind and lawful need not mean you will be successful. It is, of course possible to be successful and yet remain down to earth and moral, but the converse need not be true and those who are successful but not modest deserve the success no less.
Back to sports after bit of digression. The last month or so has been watching-the-sports-on-TV-for-hours month for me. With the (American) football season play-offs, India - Pakistan series, Australian Open and then the Winter Olympics, meant many sleepless nights and showing up next day on job red eyed. I distinctly remember one week-end when I watched a football game followed by a tennis match followed by live cricket. Total time spent? Only 12 hours - just the time someone in his mid-twenties is advised to spend in sports-related activities per month. (Reference: A pamphlet given at the gym that I joined few months back with high hopes, but things just don’t seem to 'work out'.):-(