The cricket world knows just how good former Australian captain Ricky Ponting was with the bat, but Rohit Sharma has revealed further insight into his incredible influence as a coach.
During an Instagram Live chat, Sharma was talking to Indian teammate Ravichandran Ashwin when the batsman brought up his former Mumbai Indians teammate Ponting.
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The Indian Premier League franchise picked up the Aussie in 2013 and Ponting was made the captain/coach.
But playing the T20 game in the twilight of his career, Ponting struggled for runs at the beginning of the season.
In doing so, the legend passed over the captaincy to Sharma mid-season and stepped down from the XI.
And it was this selflessness and Ponting’s willingness to go the extra step for the youngsters that surprised Sharma.
“He was the first one to arrive in India [for the 2013 season] much before any other domestic player,” Sharma said.
“You can imagine his passion, you can imagine his energy. He wanted to feel the team, he wanted to come in and understand each and everybody.
“He was the one who called the shots and he said, ‘I want to have a team bonding session with all of them’.
“Ponting was in my group and there were two youngsters from domestic cricket. Now Ponting is telling them, ‘I’ve watched your video, you look solid, you can go way up’.
“Imagine what the youngster will be feeling. That was him [Ponting].”
‘Always stood in front’: Sharma on Ponting
Australian fans have seen the influence Ponting had on the national team during the recent documentary, The Test, when Langer took over and called for the former captain to join his coaching staff.
But it was Ponting’s ability to bring out the best in players around him that prompted Sharma to hail the Aussie’s influence.
“He was always there to help me, he always stood in front if there were any issues,” Sharma said.
“Over the years … three years I worked with him, I just feel he’s a guy from a different planet when it comes to motivating players, understanding what that player has in him and bringing the best out of that player. He’s the best in that.
“The judgment of all these characters, he’s so good at it.”
Ponting enjoyed a remarkable career playing 168 Test matches for Australia and scoring 13,378 at an average of 51.85.