Brett Lee narrates never-heard-before story of young Ricky Ponting facing 160kmph deliveries without helmet
There have been only few instances when a 160kmph delivery has been clocked in international cricket. There have been fast bowling greats who traumatised batters with their sheer pace when One-Day cricket was still new. It is a shame that the technology was not advanced then and the actual speed of fast-bowling legends was not recorded. Nevertheless, even a 130kmph bouncer if directed well can trouble a batter. That’s why it is very tough to believe that a batter would face 160kmph deliveries without the helmet even in the nets. Aussie fast-bowling great recently shared an anecdote that proves how confident the former skipper Ricky Ponting was right from the start.
“When he burst onto the scene in 90s no one knew what was coming when they saw Ricky Ponting,” Lee recalled in a video shared on his Youtube channel.
He continued: “I think back to the cricket academy; back at 94-95 I was down there and we had to do a thing under the guidance of Rod Marsh.
“We had to face 12 balls at a 160 kmph off the bowling machine in the cricket net. You can imagine guys like me who aren't great batsmen being petrified, facing the bowling machine at 160 kmph getting hit everywhere; in the head, in the helmet, in the arm.
“Well the rumour is that when he (Ponting) went there in early 90s, he went there with a cap on. Rod Marsh said ‘what are you doing?’ He said ‘I’m batting'. 160 kmph he goes bang, hitting the ball in front of the square; did not miss one. And Rod Marsh back then who was a wonderful coach and a great selector and a great talent scout said straightaway ‘this guy will play a lot of cricket for Australia’."
There have been instances in international cricket where Ponting has displayed his fitness. In Ashes 2005, Ponting was hit by a nasty bouncer from Steve Harmison but carried on playing despite bleeding.
Ponting ended up becoming one of the best batters in the history of the sport who pulled short balls with utmost ease. Ponting retired with a total of 71 international centuries to his name. He is still second on the list alongside former Indian skipper Virat Kohli who recently ended the century drought. Ponting led Australia to World Cup glory twice. Also, he is Australia's most successful Test captain with 48 wins from 77 Tests.