There can never be a totally perfect time to retire. It didn't quite happen for Ricky Ponting, yet he can still be happy with the circumstances of his exit. Today, as he steps out on the WACA for the Welcome to Country, the anthems, and the Third Test against South Africa, he will be making his 168th official Test match appearance for Australia. It will be last, having announced his retirement yesterday.
Part two of my annotated log of cricketing thoughts as tweeted over the summer holiday period. Some tweets have been deleted for reasons of clarity and sanity.
January 2, 2010:
#cricket I probably won't get around to blogging it, but my cricketer of the 2000s is Muttiah Muralitharan. Runner-up: Adam Gilchrist. 10:13 AM Jan 2nd
#cricket I find it hard to get used to the Sydney Test starting on January 3, not January 2 12:24 PM Jan 2nd
For no obvious reason I haven't done a blog entry about cricket since my end-of-year piece on December 30 (apart from a item spruiking my book "Today In Cricket" and why haven't you bought it yet?). Worse still, my daily Test match entries conked out after the opening day of the Australia v Pakistan First Test.
The Frank Worrell Trophy is settled for 2009. Australia 2, West Indies 0, with one draw. Sounds decisive on the surface of it, but the truth is that, for the two latter Tests at least, the Windies surpassed expectations. Australia played like a team hovering between third and fourth-best in the world.
Michael Clarke, co-star with Tiger Woods in many an Aussie version of the Gillette ads, made less runs than Woods has paramours, but with the West Indian eleven lacking Chanderpaul and Barath, it is going to be hard to see them matching the eventual Australian score.
(Update: See the first comment for a Postscript to this article.)
Ricky Ponting will play more Twenty20 cricket in 2010 than in 2009 despite his announcement on Monday of his retirement from the three-hour version of the game at international level.
Quite simply, Performance dictates dismissal. Ponting's performance as Test captain in recent years dictates that. The only real argument against Ponting's removal as captain would be the TINA factor - There Is No Alternative. However, there is an alternative, an able, intelligent, mature one by the name of Michael Clarke.