Mowbray hero Ricky Ponting wins more award plaudits with Cricket Australia Hall of Fame induction

PRIDE: Ricky Ponting stands in front of his Australian Hall of Fame image during the formal induction at the MCG on Monday. Picture: Cricket Australia.
PRIDE: Ricky Ponting stands in front of his Australian Hall of Fame image during the formal induction at the MCG on Monday. Picture: Cricket Australia.

Ricky Ponting’s legendary status in the game has been elevated even further at the latest induction on Monday night into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.

Mowbray’s favourite son was one of three past cricketers honoured at the Allan Border Medal presentation.

Norman O’Neill, the Test allrounder of the 1960s, and Karen Rolton, who captained Australia at the turn of the century, also joined Ponting. 

“Nights like this to sort of reinvigorate as you very rarely get the chance to sit back and think about what you’ve done,” Ponting said during the induction ceremony. 

“As you know as players, from series to series, you don’t have a chance to reflect ever. You just finish one game or one series and you move on to the next one, and you try and make yourself better.

“It was an amazing journey that began in the backyard of the northern suburbs of Launceston and it ended in Perth where I made my [Test] debut. It was 21 fantastic years of lots of great memories and lots of great people.”

The Launceston retired great’s latest award comes barely months after being inducted into the Tasmanian Sporting Hall of Fame that he said was “as good as it gets”.

Ponting is one of 49 former players named in cricket’s top echelon starting since 1996 with 10 inductees, including Sir Don Bradman, Dennis Lillee and Keith Miller.

Ex-Launceston club and Tasmanian champion David Boon, who retired from the international game in 1995,  entered the ranks last year.

Ponting took great pride on Monday night to tell hundreds of the cricket fraternity about his roots in the game starting out of the family’s humble Mowbray backyard.

“My brother bowled a hell of a lot in the backyard – it wasn’t long after that he decided cricket wasn’t the game for him because he didn’t get a bat,” Ponting laughed.

“Like anyone else, I was a boy with a bat who had big dreams and those dreams weren’t all about playing for Australia. They were little things along the way.

“I wanted to play for my home club team. I idolised everyone of those A-grade players of my Mowbray Cricket Club when I was eight, nine, 10 years of age.

“I used to jump on my BMX bike on Saturday morning, read in the paper where they were playing that day and ride to the venue.

“I’d be there before the players turned up. I’d be waiting at the changerooms’ door and the door would open, and I’d go and find my spot in the dressing room.

“Troy Cooley, who is the Australian team bowling coach now, will testify to that – I was the first one there and the last one to leave.”

By the end of his international career, Ponting was the most capped Australian Test and ODI player, and had served as captain for a record 324 matches across all formats of the game over a 17-year international career.

Ponting made his first appearance for Australia in the 1995, aged just 20.

He would eventually take over the Australian one-day captaincy in 2002 and the Test job just two years later from the retiring Steve Waugh.

The stint in the role had included leading his country to back-to-back World Cup titles in 2003 and 2007.

Ponting was also the first cricketer in the world to be involved in 100 Test victories.

The prolific runscorer took out the Allan Border Medal in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009.

Ponting’s contribution to cricket has continued post-retirement that has included serving as the current Australian assistant coach of the Twenty20 side and is tipped to replace the retiring Darren Lehmann in the job.