Time for Ricky Ponting to pull up stumps on Test career
Players realise there is huge amount of money to be earned in cricket and with the booming success of the IPL, the opportunities to play on make the decision to give the game away a lot harder than in recent years.
Past players found it somewhat easier to walk away from the game. While you still gave up a little bit of fame, cricket did not always pay the mortgage or ensure life away from the game would be easy.
The financial opportunities the game now provides for players around the world leave many to believe they still have something to offer.
It is only the brave and the appeased who know when to go, but whose decision is it?
Giving up a sport might seem trivial compared to everyday life decisions, but for those who play, and know nothing else, saying goodbye is an almost impossibly difficult task when the game has been their way of life for many years.
The game of cricket has defined many a player, but it also has blinded some to the existence of another world, one of which they must now be a part.
I have often wondered what the likes of a Ponting or a Tendulker would do in retirement. I have no clue, and I suspect neither do they.
I’m sure the opportunities will be endless, but they won’t compare to walking out to bat in a packed stadium. After spending most of your life as a professional cricketer, I can’t imagine what it is like walk away from a game that has given so much.
I often hear people saying that a particular player has earned the right to decide when to give the game away.
The likes of a Ponting, Tendulker or Warne have contributed enough so they should be the ones to decide when to walk away. Of course they haven’t. Nobody is bigger than the game.
Professional sport is a results driven business. Age is no barrier but whether or not a player is still capable of playing at their best, at the highest level, must be left to someone else.
Ricky Ponting is a good example. You would be hard pressed to find players who prepare themselves as well as Ricky does. This type of dedication has helped prolong his career to this point.
He has such a strong competitive drive, I can’t imagine him ever uttering the words “I’m retiring from international cricket”. A perfect example of this was during a press conference regarding Ricky’s future in the one day arena.
At no point did Ricky say, “I’m retiring”. He simply could not bring himself to declare those words.
I would like to see him go out on top, not pushed like he has been from the one-day squad but it was more than likely Ponting’s stubborn streak – that competitive drive which has seen him succeed in the past – which has now led him to play on.
The challenge of proving people wrong seemingly gave the former skipper a second wind. Having failed in the West Indies, the pressure is once again back on Punter. Will he be able to rise once again and prove the doubters, like me, wrong?
Honestly, I think he should have retired from international cricket and I think the selectors have failed Ricky and the game by allowing him to play on.
Watch Glenn Mitchell's wrap of the second Test, where Australia were victorious early on the final day, winning by 218 runs and taking a 2-0 series lead into the third Test in Perth.