Patient skipper gets his reward

The Age

Thursday December 31, 2009

Jamie Pandaram

Being a mentor gives Ricky Ponting an extra buzz, Jamie Pandaram reports. IN MANY years' time, what will not stand out for Ricky Ponting about yesterday's record-breaking win will be the 170-run margin, his score of 57 in the first innings, or that it was indeed his 42nd victory as Test captain, more than any other skipper in history.Ponting will remember that in this match two players who have been much maligned, but two players he has backed to the hilt, took giant strides.The personal achievement of Shane Watson to score his maiden Test ton and Nathan Hauritz to claim his maiden first-class five-wicket haul will remind him of why he was successful as a leader.Ponting brought the pair into the trenches with him and despite opportunities to turn his back particularly with Hauritz after the Ashes debacle he remained loyal and fiercely supportive. They rewarded him with his 93rd win from 140 Tests, more than any player ever."They're things I'll probably be most proud of when I'm done," Ponting said. "We all play to win games of cricket and be involved in teams that win a lot of games of cricket."[That] is a great record within itself, and I've been lucky enough to play in some great teams."It's my 42nd win as Test captain as well; they're things I'm very proud of. Hopefully there's a lot more wins around the corner."You do not fashion such a record simply batting by example. Ponting has led giants of the game in Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, and also guided youngsters such as Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Callum Ferguson through their baby steps."Really, in the past couple of years with our Test cricket we haven't done a lot wrong, we haven't won everything that we've played in but we've been ultra-competitive against every team. We haven't been as dominant but we are building a squad of players at the moment that in a couple of years' time are going to be a very dominant team again," Ponting said. "At the moment it is my job to keep the group together and keep challenging them."We are definitely going well and there is a great feeling around the team and wins like that make the feeling around the place better. We finished another game early on the last day of a Test match and we have a good opportunity now to celebrate and have a few drinks together and soak up the occasion."For a couple of the guys who have done some significant things, Watto and Haury and Mitch, those guys have had exceptional Test matches and it is important that we celebrate that for what it is."

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