Now Prince since you've admitted in the past that your ancestors are Alec & Charles Bannerman, that wouldn't affect your line of thinking, especially to one of the greatest stonewallers ever, Alec Bannerman?
Tell us what this one means Richard? 8-)
The meaning of the Rolleyes is well-documented: it says "what a stupid comment" and hence should be used with great caution.
Ponting probaly did not get the best of Donald, Ambrose and Walsh, Wasim and Waqar, all at their ridiculous best around 1992-1995.
But I would not complain watching either.
Anywaaaaaaay, back on topic. Must say that I agree with SST here (yeah, obvsiouly some bias, but he does make a very good point). If Ponting isn't better than BCL now, he is at least his equal, and will imo end up being his superior.
The trouble with Lara, something that makes him so difficult to rate, as I mentioned above, is that he had such large ups and downs. At the start of his career he was sensational. However, he then had a lengthy spell where, had what came before not come before, he'd not have been considered anything other than a decent Test batsman.
Then, like any batsman you'd hope for worth his salt, he cashed-in big-time on the flat pitches and generally weak attacks. Interesting to compare his average for this time (61.53) to Ponting's (71.20). Beyond doubt, Ponting has bashed the weak attacks better.
However, the simple truth of the matter is that Ponting's overall average for his pre-Headingley-2001 career (and fortunately enough it coincides almost exactly with the start of Lara's more average period) is near enough the same as Lara's when he was very much below the level he had started-off at. Now you can say that Ponting's record down the order was better, and that his average is dragged down by batting at three earlier than he should have - that's true enough, but even excluding the innings at three he still averages just 45.29 before the flattening&weakening.
What's perhaps most interesting is what would have happened had the weakening&flattening not happened. I'm in little doubt as to what'd have happened with Ponting - he'd have averaged, I reckon, about 50-55 for the period, as he obviously got better as a batsman. But not better enough to average 70. What would have happened with Lara? That's simply impossible to know. He could easily have gone on performing middlingly, or he could have regained his former glories, well some of them perhaps.
As I've said - Lara is one who, unlike Tendulkar, is so difficult to rate. A bit like Botham in that way.
Why yes I agree, Ponting is a better ODI batsman than Lara.
At the moment I'd rate Ponting, overall, a hair's width under Lara and Tendulkar but I expect him to take over the mantle by the end of his career. He looks too good.
Lot's of evidence to suggest that Ponting is the second best batsman in history
BIG WEAKNESS - record in India however the series in Oz in '03 was played on India-like wickets and he slaughtered them
Otherwise, hammers everyone, virtually every time, virtually everywhere with an unorthodox technique
Indisputably a great player but rank him where you will