Continuing the trend of choosing the all-time XI, Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting picks his all time Playing XI made up of individuals he played alongside or against in his stellar 18-year first-class career. His team features five crickters from Australia, Two from West Indies and One each from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa. Ponting chose Kumar Sangakkara to lead his team.
At the top, Ponting chose his compatriots Mathew Hayden and Justin Langer to open the innings.
“Two guys that I really enjoyed batting behind, and two different batting style,” Ponting said on a video posted by the Lord’s website.
“Matty Hayden, always big and tall at the crease, always on the front foot, always putting pressure back on the bowlers,” he believes.
“And his little mate Justin Langer at the other end, who is one of my greatest mates from my playing times,” he remarked.
Furthermore, at number three Ponting picked South African great Jacques Kallis.
Interestingly, with 45 Test centuries, 13,289 Test runs and 292 wickets, Kallis is one of the greatest all-rounders of all times.
Following Kallis at number four, is batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, the lone Indian in the team.
On his decision to select Tendulkar, Ponting said:“There’s not too many greatest XIs you could pick without Sachin in it. His longevity in the game was remarkable. He had a great record against Australia, and as a captain of an opposition team playing against him. He gave us lots of nightmares and certainly won lots of games, one-day internationals or Test matches.”
West Indian Brian Lara comes in at no.5 and holder of the record for the highest score in an innings in Tests can only enhance the batting power of this all-time XI. Kumar Sangakkara from Sri Lanka will be the captain of the all-time XI and will complete one of the most impressive looking batting orders ever.
“Another guy that gave me nightmares as a captain was Brian Lara, the West Indies legend,” Ponting said. “A very determined player, loved winning and gave his team every opportunity to win when he was out in the middle. Also a great leader of men, and that’s why he’s my captain,” Ponting said about choosing Sangakkara as the captain of his team.
Adam Gilchrist will don the keeping gloves for Ponting’s team and Australia’s highest wicket taker in Tests, Shane Warne is the lone spinner in the team.
About Adam Gilchrist, Ponting remarked, “Every team, once Gilly had made his mark on international cricket, was looking for someone as their wicketkeeper that could bat in the way that Gilchrist was able to bat.”
“The art and skill he had as a leg-spinner was quite remarkable,” Ponting said about Shane Warne.
Pakistan’s Wasim Akram will be joined by West Indies’ Curtly Ambrose and Australian fast bowling legend Glenn McGrath to form the fast bowling contingent for Ricky Ponting’s all time XI.
About the Pakistani fast bowling legend Wasim Akram, Ponting said, “Probably the most skilled fast bowler I played against, and it wasn’t just with the new ball either.”
Curtly Ambrose was called the most difficult bowler he ever faced by Ponting, who added, “He landed the ball on a line and length all the time (and) for me was always someone that was trying to put pressure back on the batsman.”
Finally, on Glenn McGrath, Ponting says,” Undoubtedly one of the great fast bowlers of the modern era.”
In addition, here is the all-time XI, picked by Ricky Ponting:
Openers: Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden (Australia), 3. Jaques Kallis (South Africa) 4. Sachin Tendulkar (India) 5. Brian Lara (West Indies) 6. Kumar Sangakkara (captain, Sri Lanka) 7. Adam Gilchrist (wk, Australia) 8. Shane Warne (Australia) 9. Wasim Akram (Pakistan) 10. Curtly Ambrose (West Indies) 11. Glenn McGrath (Australia)