Even after retiring from international cricket, Ricky Ponting's appetite for runs remains are large as ever. At a time when his national teammates are struggling for form against India, Ponting slammed 104 for Tasmania in a Sheffield Shield match against Victoria at Bellerive Oval in Hobart on Thursday.
His 131-ball knock contained 15 boundaries and came against a decent attack consisting rookie pacer Ryan Sidebottom (not former England pacer), all-rounder John Hastings and Pakistani-born leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed.
Recently, Ponting scored a double century against a strong New South Wales attack. He turned back the clock with his unbeaten 200 featuring the full scope of his shot-making ability. He partnered Jason Krejza for a match-saving seventh-wicket stand worth 293, the second highest in Shield history.
In December last year, after Australia suffered a 309-run loss to South Africa at WACA, Ponting ended his 168-Test career on an emotional note. Ponting was not able to conjure up the fairytale finish he desired in Perth, with the 37-year-old scoring just four and eight in his final Test. And after making just 32 runs at an average of 6.4 during the three-Test series against South Africa, Ponting decided to retire.
"Normally for me when those big moments come and I've been under pressure I've been able to find something and find something within and go out and score runs and make it all go away," said Ponting in a chat with the media.
Ponting added: "But I haven't been able to do that for a while now and that's when the alarm bells started to ring. Within my own mind I knew it was the right time to be walking away."
While he has kept mum on the latest happenings in the Australian camp, Ponting's appetite for runs has not diminished. Before Thursday's clash against Victoria, Ponting's Shield statistics have been simply astonishing. (Also read: Warne suggests booze, music to sort issues in Australia team)
The former Test captain's 69 matches so far have yielded 26 centuries, 21 half-centuries and an average of 61.34. At Bellerive, his average is 67.48. At Test level, Ponting averaged an imperial 51.85 in 168 games with 41 hundreds.
This could be Punter's last season with Tasmania, but with stints in the Indian Premier League as Mumbai Indian skipper and another at Surrey, Ponting may just give his career a second thought. While Ponting has his retirement plans in place - he has reportedly bought a mansion in Melbourne worth 10 million Dollars - the never-say-die Aussie may just decide to return in time for the Ashes in July. Cricket always gives you a second chance and Michael Clarke may not complain!
Story first published on: Thursday, 14 March 2013 14:21 IST