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Saturday , December 1 , 2012
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Ricky Ponting was furious after scoring classy 142!

Ricky Ponting with John Buchanan after winning the 2007 World Cup. That was Buchananís last day in office as Australia coach

Calcutta: It’s not unusual for a batsman to work himself into a rage after missing a Test hundred. Ricky Ponting was furious with himself after scoring a classy 142 in the first innings at the Adelaide Oval in the 2006-07 Ashes!

John Buchanan, who had an astonishing career as Australia’s coach, revealed that to The Telegraph on Friday morning, 24 hours after Ponting announced that he’d retire after the ongoing Test in Perth.

Buchanan, now New Zealand Cricket’s director of cricket, said: “Ricky set himself incredibly high standards and tried to achieve those all the time... On the morning of Day III at the Adelaide Oval, he gathered the team together just before we headed into the nets to say that he believed we could still win the Test...

“However, what it required was for the batsmen to occupy the crease all day (resuming on 28 for one in response to England’s 551 for six declared). I recall Ricky coming into the dressing room after he was dismissed, so angry with himself for not doing what he’d expected of himself and teammates that day...

“Ricky had scored one of the best hundreds at the Adelaide Oval, yet had not done what he’d set out to — bat all day. He will be missed in the Australian dressing room.”

For the record, Australia pulled off a stunning win at the Adelaide Oval, despite being 38 behind. Ponting scored 49 in the second innings and was adjudged the MoM.

Buchanan, who spent more time (close to eight years) working with Ponting than any other Australia coach, saluted him even more. Here goes...

“Ricky was an outstanding leader, a leader of men. He, like Sachin Tendulkar, set benchmarks not only in their own country but around the world... He learnt a lot from his time under Stephen Waugh. However, on becoming captain of both (Test and ODI) teams, in 2003-04, he made his own mark...

“For me, Ricky was one of the toughest characters, mentally and physically, that has ever worn the baggy green cap. He gave no quarter to the opposition, expected none in return...

“After some tumultuous times early in his career, Ricky turned it around with the help of a couple of very trusted advisors... Still, he remained humble and a relatively private man to those he did not know...

“Ricky had always said that when he felt he could no longer contribute to the team in the way he expected of himself, then it would be time to retire. He has obviously reached that point, and true to his word, there’s no changing his mind, no big fanfare, at least from him...

“Clearly, Ricky has left some incredible statistics to be bettered by the next batting legend of Australian and world cricket... I think oppositions around the world will miss the contest of playing one of their toughest rivals.”

Buchanan also spoke about Ponting’s exceptional fielding (196 catches in Tests, 160 in ODIs). “His fielding efforts have been just as remarkable, but never recorded with the same gusto and ceremony as his batting... One of the best, if not right at the top of the tree.”

Rahul Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman, Andrew Strauss, Ponting... Well, 2012 has been the year of retirements from the crease.