It was a dream come true for the kids of the organisation ‘Magic Bus’ when the great Australian cricketer Ricky Ponting interacted with them one on one, not only as a cricketer but in the capacity of the brand ambassador of the state Tasmania, Australia and the world of sports.
The Australian High Commission in the national Capital, arranged a cricket workshop for the boys and girls of ‘Magic Bus’ in a bid to promote tourism for Tasmania and to strengthen ties between India and Tasmania. They spoke about the beautiful landscapes of Tasmania and its culture. An interesting fact that was mentioned about Tasmania was that it has the cleanest air in the world. In a time when the capital of India is fighting to clean its dangerously polluted air, Tasmania’s clean air definitely sounded good.
The former Australian captain went on to encourage the children’s pursuit of wanting to be cricketers by saying that “by the end of the day, we might just find another Sachin Tendulkar or Rahul Dravid.”
While talking about this experiences of the field against that the Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh Ponting said, “He still gives me nightmares.” Building on this, Ponting went on to say that life is actually about dreams and every day before he goes to sleep, he contemplates on how he could make himself better. “I think and dream of how I can make myself better than the previous day”, says Ponting.
During the cricket workshop, Ponting, very sportingly, bowled to the kids, beginning with two girls. He then asked a boy to bowl in his stead and stood beside him guiding the kids while they played. On noticing the faulty bowling action of a boy when he was bending his elbow before bowling the ball, Ponting showed him how the elbow is supposed to be straight and asked him to bowl again with the correct action. The boy immediately picked on the correct action and Ponting tapped him in appreciation.
On being asked if the overdose of T20 is affecting other formats of the game and making a 250 total runs in ODIs (which used to be a tough score 10 years back) look meek, he said to Millennium Post, “Well, it was 444 scored the other day in a game in England, so I only say that it’s positive. It’s like the game is more exciting now as a result of T20 cricket. I’m sure Test match techniques for young players are not like what it used to be. Like when I learnt the game, I first learnt not to get out. It was about surviving but now the guys aren’t even worried about getting out.” On being further questioned if it spoils the essence of the game, he said, “When you land up in conditions foreign to you, you make those mistakes and technical deficiencies stand out even more. Like Australia in Sri Lanka last week and to an extent in Ashes in the recent times, because we are not probably training our technical sides from a young age. There are challenges and every country has to face them. It’s not only India but every country is playing an equal amount of T20 cricket.”
A smiling Ponting said that coming to India on a business-like venture was a completely different experience for him and he hoped that by the end of his trip, people would know about his state, Tasmania.