Bangalore:Still not over with the Mohali Test loss, Australian skipper Ricky Ponting must have taken some heart after he was chosen the captain of ICC's ODI Team of the Year at the ICC Annual Awards on Wednesday. NDTV caught up with him to share his views on the award he won, the India-Australia rivalry and if it is better than the Ashes.
NDTV: Ricky Ponting many congratulations. An unexpected honor or were you keeping your fingers crossed?
Ricky: Normally when you come to such events, you have a feeling you might be in a team or might be up for an award. I really had no idea about it, to be captain of the ODI Team of the Year and to be in the side I am really delighted.
NDTV: For someone like you it's all about the game and how good you are but a lot of how you are managing lies between the ears, how much do you believe cricket is a mind game and how much courtesy would you give it.
Ricky: In our game I would think 80% of the game is played above the shoulders. The hardest thing about international cricket is that you are physically and mentally right for every game you play. We are playing a lot of cricket now days and to keep you mind and body in shape is a pretty hard thing to do. And for someone who is 35 years old, it is certainly not getting easier.
NDTV: You make it look very easy even after what happened in Mohali but whether who ever won or lost it will be remembered as one for the best cricket games ever played, some in fact saying the best.
Ricky: It is certainly is up there with the games I have played. I have been lucky enough to play over 150 Test matches now and that one (Mohali Test) will be one that I'll remember for a really long time. Even though we lost the game, it was an amazing game of cricket, I think one that every player played in, will remember for a really long time.
NDTV: The night before you had said "VVS Laxman might be the guy to watch out for ", did you have a sixth sense about this?
Ricky: I probably did unfortunately. Sitting at dinner that night, I just had a feeling that he was going to be nice and fresh. He had not really taken much part in the game, someone who has had those kind of back issues in the past before it normally lasts only 2-3 days so I thought his back might have been better and come day 5 and he is someone who has got a very good record against Australia and we got everybody else out. We got Sachin early and Dhoni early but could not get Laxman when we needed to and he played very well and they deserved to win the game.
NDTV: After an event like this, a really nail biter, a real cliff hanger, could have gone any way. I could imagine the dressing room would be quiet silent, what do you say to pick up the pieces again, because you have to do that?
Ricky: Yeah! It was very quiet last night as you could imagine. The guys were shattered not have won that game. We played well enough for long enough but the result didn't go our way. We go back to the hotel and had a meal together and whenever players get together we always talk about cricket in some way. We'll get back together like a group tomorrow and get into our team meeting and talk about the last game and the next game.
NDTV: You are also getting all set for the World Cup?
Ricky: We have being playing some really good cricket over the last 12 months. We are still 6 months away from the World Cup and we got another Test to play here and a big Ashes series back home. We'll get those series out of the way first and our group is on track to playing some good cricket for the World Cup.
NDTV: You mentioned the Ashes, it is very often mentioned that the India-Australia match has become bigger than the Ashes. Is that how you see it or are they two different ball games?
Ricky: They are two different challenges there is no doubt about that. But as an Australian I really enjoy the Ashes and I think the England players would say that. They probably like that series more than any other. We are lucky at the moment that we have got South Africa, England and India. We got great rivalry against all those sides. It seems like every Test match we play or every series we play is almost as same as the other one. You know the last Test we played is one of the all time greats and we got other Test matches coming up in Australia this year.