x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Ponting made critics eat humble pie wtih Sydney Test hundred

Ahmed Rizvi: Ricky Ponting proved he still belongs on the international stage with a stylish 134 that showed all his gifts are still intact.

Ricky Ponting was certainly not on Kevin Pietersen's mind when the colourful Englishman used the term "pie chucker" to describe a fellow cricketer, but the former Australia captain might have thrown a few in the direction of the media boxes on day two of the Sydney Test against India.

Crumbs must have been scattered across a few laptops, evidence that those who had been publishing Ponting's cricketing obituary for the best part of the past year were choking on humble pies.

Ponting, Australia's greatest batsman of the modern age, proved he still belongs on the international stage and his critics will be looking to find some cover after his response at Sydney, a stylish 134 that showed all his gifts are still intact.

His detractors should have seen the riposte coming. The curtains come down on the best of acts, but greatness has never been a slave of a few strands of grey.

Age is an ogre for lesser beings, but not for the likes of the tennis legends Jimmy Connors or Martina Navratilova. And, remember, Wilfred Rhodes playing cricket into his 50s for Yorkshire and England?

Ponting has just turned 37, and is younger than Sachin Tendulkar by more than 18 months. Would anyone dare to ask the Indian great to hang up his pads?

True, Ponting went for 33 innings without reaching three figures in Test cricket, but he had nine scores in excess of 50 during this period. Every batsman has gone through such phases.

It is more likely to happen to someone in the 17th year of his career, but after close to 13,000 runs in Test cricket and 40 centuries, Ponting deserves a bit more respect.