Punter for batting, Border for skipper. Tough choice.
Ponting as a batsman. I always rated Waugh ahead but I think Ponting in the last two years or so has been simply the best batsman I have ever seen. Never before have I watched someone and been genuinely surprised when they got out short of a century. Waugh was an amazing batsmen for a time though. His performance in the West Indies in 1995 is probably my favourite individual batting display in any series. Border was also great but a short distance behind, IMO.
As a captain, I think it's hard to rate someone if you haven't watched them, because captaincy has so many intangibles. I'd rate Waugh marginally ahead of Ponting as a captain, but I didn't watch much of Border's career live so I can't comment there.
Ponting the best fielder of the three, and Waugh the best bowler.
I know a place where a royal flush
Can never beat a pair
Rating Ponting as the best fielder is a big call. Not sure who is because they were all so good. AB essentially invented short mid-wicket and hitting the stumps from inside the circle plus was a great catcher in the ring, Waugh at gully was without peer and pulled off some freakish stops at point/cover-point/gully whereas Ponting doesn't hit the stumps as often as he used to but latches onto just about everything when in front of the wicket and drops very few behind. Too close to call for sure in my opinion but perhaps you're right about Ponting, if only for versatility (he has a far stronger arm than either AB or Waugh and can field in the outfield as well as anyone).
Last edited by Top_Cat; 21-02-2008 at 10:19 PM.
The best test match ever
- Allan Border
- Steve Waugh
- Ricky Ponting
Applies to both batting & captaincy.
Last edited by BhupinderSingh; 22-02-2008 at 01:01 AM.
As a batsman Iíd have Ponting at the top of the pile - his performances over the past few years, even in this era of highways for pitches and half-size boundaries, have been something else. Very little between the other two, though Border just edges it for me, leaving Tugga unluckily in third. He shouldnít feel too bad though Ė for what itís worth, I consider all three among the top six batsmen ever produced by Australia.
As skippers, they were all very much products of their time IMO Ė and as has been noted already, none of them were a match for Mark Taylor as tacticians. AB wasnít a great tactician himself but he was the kind of man for whom the phrase ďlead by exampleĒ might have been invented. He inherited a team at its absolute lowest ebb and was on a hiding to nothing for so long that he just sucked it up and dragged Australia kicking and screaming back to competitiveness, and left a legacy that his successors have been able to build on so successfully. What he did for Australian cricket in the 1980s should never be underestimated or forgotten.
Waugh was a different beast, though cut from a lot of the same cloth. He inherited a dominant team from Tubby and of course his principal working brief was to maintain that dominance. With the team he had at his disposal he was always a good chance to do that, but to his credit he was also determined to stamp his own mark on the team Ė the mentality to risk defeat in order to increase the chance of winning, the reverence for the Baggy Green cap and the responsibilities to the game and its previous wearers that wearing it entailed, the steely-eyed determination to never be satisfied with past achievements and to always want more.
Punter has made his mistakes and I still stop short of considering him a particularly outstanding captain, though he has certainly improved markedly over the past couple of years and seems to be doing his best to grow into the job. I think his captaincy will be defined, though, by the next few years. He has over the past 18 months lost three of the greatest players ever to represent Australia, along with two or three other outstanding cricketers, and the retirements of at least Hayden and one or two others will come sooner rather than later. You donít just replace players like that, and it would be naÔve to think that Australiaís winning percentage wonít diminish, even if slightly. What will make or break him, in my opinion, is not merely how many matches and series he wins but also how he handles the transition from the previous generation to the next and manages both the team and, importantly, himself through this period.
As it stands then, I canít really split Border or Waugh as skippers and have both ahead of Ponting. Punterís challenge is to make me re-think that order over the coming years.
Ponting is clearly the better batsmen of the 3 imo, however I'd probably rate Waugh ahead of him as a captain, but only just. I can't really judge Borders captaincy because I quite simply haven't seen enough of it.
I started to read an intersting article (was in the Bulletin) when I was waiting at the doctors the other day by Chappeli in regards to captaincy. The article was titled "Why Ponting is a better captain than Waugh". I didn't get far into it though before I had to go, but I one thing I do recall him saying was that he thought Ponting tried to get set Batsmen out, whereas in his eyes, Waugh seemed to sit back and wait for things to happen (He used the Follow-on loss to India in '01 as an example) and that was one the main reasons he thought Ponting was better.
I haven't read the article but I'm not sure I'd agree with that argument - I'm sure you could find instances both ways with both men over the course of their respective captaincies. Would require further thought and investigation I think.
I think the most important thing to remember about that article though Clapo is the author. I like Chappelli more than many on these pages and think that most of the time he knows his stuff, but his dislike of Steve Waugh knows few bounds. He'd be just about the last bloke I'd choose to write an objective piece on anything Waugh-related.
Haha, was going to say exactly that. Nothing written by Ian Chappell about Stephen Waugh should ever be taken with great seriousness.
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For me Ponting is clearly the best batsman, I would argue based on his form over the last 2 years there is daylight between him and both waugh and border.
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