It’s a bit unfair on the Aussies, but the regularity with which they win big tournaments meant few were wildly surprised when they put it past New Zealand in the final of the Champions Trophy. On the day Ponting did not have much to do as Shane Watson and Cameron White took the game away.
“I am ecstatic to come away with a win. To win a tournament as big as this one is great reward for all the guys,” said Ponting. “It’s the second biggest one-day tournament that you play, there’s nothing else outside the World Cup. It’s a very special achievement. If you look at us and the amount of ups and downs we have been through in the last 18 months, this is a real positive.”
Ponting was all praise for Watson, a player he has backed to come good for some years now. “In the last couple of months, we have started to see the real Shane Watson. He is showing everybody just how good a cricketer he can be. The way he bowled against England in the semis was terrific, and to then come out and make that 130-odd was a great effort.
“But as I said to Cameron and Shane tonight, the situation doesn’t get much harder than it was for those two guys tonight in a big game, in a final, you are chasing a low score and you are two for six, you have got two relatively young guys at the crease,” Ponting continued. “To see those guys stand up and get us across the line was very satisfying.”
In a ringing endorsement of 50-over cricket that will be music to the ears of the ICC, Ponting said he was convinced there was no immediate threat to the future of the 50-over game. “There certainly is a place for both 20-over cricket and 50-over cricket alongside the Test game,” he said. “The Test game is still the form I enjoy the most. I was worried at the time when 20-over cricket became as popular as it was that we might start playing a few less 50-over games, but tournaments like this can only help the game.”
Generous in victory, Ponting praised New Zealand for the manner in which they played. “You have to give them a lot of credit for making it to the final. Especially with some of the injuries they have had, it is a great effort. Daniel Vettori has done a great job leading them, he has done a great job as a player as well and for them to lose him today was a major loss,” he said.