Ricky Ponting is one of Australia’s greatest Test captains with a formidable record in the Ashes.
Allan Border has been named captain by Ricky Ponting in his Australian Ashes XI from the past 40 years, with several of the latter’s peers such as Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and even Matthew Hayden featuring in the team.
Ricky Ponting, who led Australia to a 5-0 win in the Ashes in 2006-07, had lost the Urn twice during his captaincy, in 2005 as well as in 2010-11 while playing at home. However, with 48 wins in 77 Tests, Ponting remains Australia’s best captain ever.
Ponting’s team also includes former Australian captain Steve Waugh, who stands second in the list of most successful leaders with 41 wins in 57 Tests.
The opening pair of Ponting’s Ashes XI is of Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden, who averaged 50.91 and 45.65, respectively, at the top in Ashes contests.
“Justin’s average is just over fifty and he holds the highest individual score (250) in this 40-year period of Ashes cricket,” Ponting described the process behind selecting Langer.
At the coveted No. 3 spot, Ponting named ‘Mr Cricket’ Mike Hussey, who averaged a staggering 59.27. The Waugh brothers — Mark and Steve — are named at No. 4 and 5 which makes this batting line-up look extremely formidable.
Steve Waugh, for that matter, averaged 61.73 over 43 Ashes Tests with 10 centuries and 13 fifties.
Steve Smith (R) of Australia poses on stage with Allan Border after winning the Allan Border Medal on January 27, 2015, in Sydney.
“Number six is Alan Border, the man that is known as turning Australian cricket around. He was such a fierce competitor and whenever Allan Border was in, Australia was never beaten and I think that is what we all idolised about him,” explained Ponting for naming Border as his captain and the perfect fit at No 6.
Adam Gilchrist, one of the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman ever, was an automatic choice for Ponting for his Ashes XI from past 40 years.
“It was a tough decision given that there is also Ian Healy and Rod Marsh to choose from, but Gilly has been credited for changing the way keepers were looked at and still looked at now,” Ponting said.
The bowling cartel is as formidable as it could be, with Shane Warne — 195 wickets in 36 Ashes Tests — being the sole spinner in the side.
Sachin Tendulkar flanked by Brian Lara and Rahul Dravid on his left and Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan on the right pose for the shutterbugs during a dinner party to celebrate the bicentenary of Lord’s in London.
Ponting explained, “There’s only one spin bowler for me and that’s Shane Warne. He was just a freak at what he did and his ability to stand up on the big stage, execute when it mattered and mesmerise English opponents was second to none.”
“He (Gilchrist) missed nothing with the gloves and was an exceptionally explosive batsman that could change the game in the course of an hour. Gilchrist is that type of guy you want coming in late in the order for you in any contest, let alone an Ashes one,” Ponting added.
The fast bowling unit comprises of Dennis Lillee (82 wickets in 12 Ashes Tests at 20.78), Rodney Hogg (56 scalps in 11 Ashes Tests at 17) and the great Glenn McGrath (157 wickets in 30 Ashes Tests) forming a lethal combination.
“I’ve included Rodney Hogg in my eleven and I know this selection might raise some eyebrows. I went through the cold hard facts, the stats, the numbers and it’s pretty hard to argue against a player who has an average of 17 with the ball in Ashes cricket,” Ponting explained.