'Ponting can be the greatest'
The Aussie captain can top Tendulkar and Lara and become Test cricket's greatest batsman, Shane Warne said.india Updated: Feb 07, 2006 18:16 IST
Australian captain Ricky Ponting can top Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara and become Test cricket's greatest batsman, Shane Warne said on Tuesday.
Ponting is the top-ranked batsman in Test and one-day cricket and this week capped another outstanding year with his second Allan Border Medal win, having scored 1,596 Test runs and seven centuries in the past year.
Time, form and ability are on 31-year-old Ponting's side as he tracks the prodigious scoring deeds of West Indian champion Lara, 36, and Indian maestro Tendulkar, 32, the game's two great contemporary batsmen.
Among the active players, Lara is Test cricket's leading run-scorer with 11,204 runs, Tendulkar is fourth on 10,386 and Ponting is 10th with 8,253.
But Warne, a long-time opponent of Lara and Tendulkar and a teammate of Ponting's for over a decade, said his skipper had the potential to claim many of the game's batting records.
"I think you've seen this year what he is capable of," Warne told reporters.
"What is he, 31? So he'll play who knows how many more years. So he could break all the records in the batting if it's up to him, if he's still enjoying it and he's enjoying captaining the side and enjoying playing and batting like he is, there's no doubt he could break all the records, for sure."
Warne said Ponting was tough to dislodge once he was set, and was in the sort of form few players ever reach.
"I don't think there's too many guys who have been in this sort of form," Warne said.
"I remember Matty Hayden a few years ago, Tendulkar in the mid-90s, Lara in the mid-90s, the form (Ponting's) been in has just been phenomenal.
"He's had a wonderful year. He's always hard to bowl to, he's quick on his feet and he's a wonderful player. He plays the quicks so well that they bring the spinners on and he whacks them.
"You've got to get him out early, if you don't get him out early then he's going to make you pay."