Heaping lavish praise on Steven Smith, former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting has said the Australia captain is well ahead of some of his contemporaries who are considered as the best in the world, like Joe Root and Kane Williamson.
The race of being the best in the world is primarily between the four captains – Steven Smith, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Joe Root and while Ponting admitted that Kohli is ‘on a pretty high pedestal, the England and New Zealand skippers come nowhere close to Smith.
“You look at the other better players in the world; Virat Kohli is on a pretty high pedestal, but then you look at Joe Root and Kane Williamson, as far as I’m concerned those guys are nowhere near as good as Steven Smith, and I’ve said that for a long time,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.
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Ponting’s comments came after Smith finished the third day of the ongoing Ashes Test on an unbeaten 229, taking his centuries tally to an impressive 22 in just 59 games. The right-handed batsman, who scored his maiden Test century only four years ago during the Ashes tour of England, has taken the world by storm with his remarkable consistency.
Since the start of 2014, Smith has scored 4816 runs at a stunning average of 75.25 with the help of 20 hundred. During the brilliant knock, Smith also reached 1000 Test runs in a calendar year for the fourth successive year; a feat previously achieved only by his illustrious compatriot Matthew Hayden, who had crossed the 1000-run mark for five consecutive years from 2001-2005.
Such has been his consistency, that the clueless English players even went to Ponting to seek advise on how to dismiss the 28-year old. Ponting, however, revealed that he declined to help the tourists not only because of obvious reasons but also because he too was not aware of any weakness in Smith’s game.
“I even had England players come to me this morning saying ‘Just give us something on Smith. What are we going to bowl to Smith?’. And I said, ‘Look, one, I’m not going to tell you. And two, I don’t know anyway because it seems like he’s got every base covered’,” the 42-year old said.
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Smith scored his 22nd Test ton in the third Test (Credits: Getty)
“You look at his wagon wheel, he’s got boundaries almost all around the ground, and there’s no obvious weakness, and with his appetite for runs that he’s got he’ll just keep batting forever. Imagine him back in the day when there were Timeless Tests he would’ve just batted forever!” he added.
Ponting also said Mitchell Marsh had proved his critics wrong with the sublime knock. The all-rounder, who was making his Test comeback in the game, remained unbeaten on 181, as Australia finished the day on a commanding 549 for four.
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“There has been a lot of ‘noise’ about Mitchell Marsh and his selection back in the team again.Have the selectors made the wrong or the right call? I think it’s been proven again they’ve made the right call… There wouldn’t be a person in Australia that’s not happy seeing Mitchell Marsh doing what he’s doing at the moment,” he said.
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