The image of Ricky Ponting hunting down stumps with his dead-on throws might still be fresh in the minds of those who watched him in his pomp. Nearly eight years after his international retirement, Ponting has now revealed the secret behind his breathtakingly accurate direct hits.
Ponting, who took 364 catches in his career, the second-most by an outfield player across formats, told former teammate Shane Watson on the Lessons Learnt With The Greats Podcast how he sneakily used to catch batsmen unawares by adopting a unique method of closing in when the ball was delivered.
“I fielded most of my one-day career at backward point,” Ponting said. “As soon as the field went out and there was a deep point, I would always move three or four steps finer towards third man but walk a different angle, so I’d walk an angle towards the bowler’s end stumps.”
“If I was going to get the run out from a ball pushed out towards deep point … the ball that was blocked in on or around point, I was making an angle towards the bowler’s end stumps so I was already moving in that direction and I was a couple of steps ahead of the batsman.”
It was such a treat to hear these incredible insights into what made @RickyPonting the best fielder in the world, @stars_t20. @7Cricket are so fortunate to have this man giving his amazing insights during the summer of cricket. 😊😊😊 https://t.co/1reDpdj7wE
— Shane Watson (@ShaneRWatson33) October 11, 2020
“Once (the batsman) played it down and saw it go into point, I was a lot closer than he thought I was going to be. I think that was one of the reason I probably got as many run-outs with direct hits at the bowler’s end, because I’d got a few yards on them and they didn’t really know where I was going to be.”
After his prolific playing career came to an end, Ponting ventured into coaching, and is currently in the UAE coaching IPL side Delhi Capitals. Watson, who is part of the Chennai Super Kings side, tweeted out a snapshot of their conversation, highlighting his former captain’s “incredible insights” into his fielding masterclass.
“It was such a treat to hear these incredible insights into what made @RickyPonting the best fielder in the world, @stars_t20”, Watson tweeted.
For your viewing pleasure, here’s 50 minutes of Ricky Ponting being brilliant on the field: