Ricky Ponting and Glenn McGrath. Two names that were synonymous with the dominance of the Australian cricket team at the start of the 21st century. While Ponting demolished opponents with his attacking strokeplay, McGrath plugged with such metronomic accuracy that opponents would struggle to score runs.
Ponting became the highest run-getter for Australia in Tests with 13378 runs in 168 matches while McGrath became the highest wicket-taker for Australia in Tests with 563 wickets in 124 games.
Ponting also led Australia to two consecutive World Cup triumphs while he led the team to a 5-0 whitewash over England in the 2006/07 Ashes. McGrath was part of three consecutive World Cup victories. During Ponting’s captaincy tenure, he ensured the team’s dominance.
However, speaking on BT Sports during the first Test between Australia and South Africa at the WACA in Perth, Ponting revealed that for all of McGrath’s skills and brilliance, he was the most difficult player to lead in the Australian cricket team.
“Everyone will sit back and think that he’s the easiest, that you give him the ball, he comes on and he’d do a job for you. At some stage you had to try and get the ball off him as well. I’d tell him ‘that’s enough mate, have a rest’ and for the next 10 or 15 minutes he’d be walking around with his sleeve over his mouth calling me every name under the sun. “He’d stand down at fine leg and he’d be abusing all the crowd just because he wasn’t bowling,” Ponting remarked.
McGrath retired from international cricket after Australia’s victory over Sri Lanka in the 2007 World Cup while Ponting retired in the third Test against South Africa in Perth in 2012, a match which Australia lost by 309 runs to lose the series 1-0.