As a subcontinental cricket fan, there are certain things you tend to do almost without realizing why you do them. Loathing Pakistan (if you’re Indian, vice versa if you’re Pakistani), loathing Australia, and wilfully ignoring Anil Kumble’s mountain of achievements and general awesomeness are among those that come to mind. I , personally, never did the first, and believe that if found guilty of the last you should be soundly beaten, with your own shoes, by a mob of intense, moustachioed men in spectacles. I will, however, admit to having been guilty of the second.
The Australians have been hard to like, none more so than their grizzled veteran Captain Ricky. Like the team he’s led with distinction for so long, he’s turned out consistently brilliant performances, and accepted victory after victory with a confident (some would say arrogant) grin, a man claiming what was rightfully his. There is much to admire about the man, not least his complete and self-driven turnaround from the early days when he might easily have become another Andrew Symonds. There are still many things I don’t like about him – dude needs to work on not getting riled by the media, for one thing – but in recent months, my resistance has been steadily worn down. It was dealt a death-blow when Ricky made the declaration that will probably endear him to me for ever, even if it emerges at some point that he enjoys drop-kicking puppies in his spare time and takes twice-daily baths in the tears of orphans.
Ricky Ponting loves ODIs. 50-over cricket. Not 40-over cricket, not ‘modified’ 50-over cricket, not sexed-up-glamorized-ODI-cricket. ODI cricket the way it’s been played all along. No caveats.
I freaking LOVE him for this.
Last night, when he admitted that had he been the fielding captain during an incident like that which befell poor Khalid Latif, he would have considered leading off his team, I realized that, dammit; I may be a Ponting fan. A reluctant, I-will-still-probably-support-any-team-that-plays-against-Australia-instead-of-them kind of fan, but a fan nonetheless. I give in. You win, Ricky. I say this with extreme reluctance, but I will still say it: you, sir, are maybe kind of awesome.