For Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar is technically the best batter he has ever seen

Written by Vishwas Gupta

“Through the generation that I played, he was technically the best player that I saw.” Ricky Ponting has never seen a batter who had a way to counter every tactic the opposition captain or bowler used against him.

Tendulkar will celebrate his 50th birthday on April 24, and Ponting recalled his battles against the Indian maestro during his days as an Australia player and captain.
However, Ponting stopped short of drawing any comparisons between Tendulkar and Virat Kohli before the latter ends his international career.

“I’ve said forever, Sachin’s technically the best batter that I’ve ever seen, and played with or against. Whatever plan that we came up with as a bowling group, he found a way to combat it, whether it was in India or Australia,” Ponting said on the ‘ICC Review’ on the eve of Tendulkar’s 50th birthday.

“It’s hard to rank and judge players as everyone is different and everyone plays the game differently. But certainly through the generation that I played, he was technically the best player that I saw.”

Ponting, however, refused to be drawn into comparing Tendulkar and Kohli just yet.
“Trying to compare the times and I know Virat played a little bit in the back end of when Sachin played, but it is a bit of a different game now,” said Ponting.

“There’s different rules, for instance, around 50-over cricket, with less fielders outside the circle, two new balls, it makes it a lot easier now for batting than probably ever before. There’s no doubt that the bats have got better. Field restrictions and new balls is a big part of it as well,” opined Ponting.

He indicated that during Tendulkar’s era, facing the old ball, which was reverse swinging, was indeed a tough task.

“When Sachin was playing ODIs, the ball at the end of a 50-over game was very hard to see. It was very soft. It was very hard to hit, it reverse swung. You don’t see that at all in the modern 50-over game,” said Ponting.

The World Cup-winning captain, who played 168 Tests for Australia, added that a fair comparison between the two giants of Indian cricket could be made once Kohli calls time on his international career.

“Virat’s got all that (time) ahead of him just yet. He’s an unbelievably good player, there’s no doubt about that. He’s got over 70-odd international hundreds now. Sachin made a 100 (centuries), didn’t he? Let’s wait until Virat’s career’s over and then I think it’ll a much fairer comparison.”

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Vishwas Gupta