Posted by: tootingtrumpet | December 3, 2012

Ricky Ponting – an alternative view

RPLawrence Booth, interviewed at the excellent The Cricket Couch, told me that a difference between bloggers and journalists is that bloggers can write what they like – so I’m doing just that here.

Ricky Ponting was not a great player.

There. I’ve said it now. I’ve written what I want – and it’s not at all what was written beautifully by Andy Bull and Rob Smyth here or by the er… great Rahul Dravid here. But it’s something I’ve felt for a long time and, in this week of tributes, I feel no less strongly.

Let’s get some stuff out of the way before we start. Ricky Ponting’s numbers are fantastic – Tests won, World Cups won, runs scored, plenty more. It’s as great a weight of stats of anyone save Tendulkar and Kallis. He churned out what wins cricket matches more than anyone else – and that is a kind of greatness. But not my kind.

Punter was also a great fielder – maybe not quite as great as Mark Waugh, but a superb natural athlete who allied fierce concentration and astute anticipation to be brilliant anywhere from slip to boundary rider. Even in his last Test, he looks the best fielder on either side, a testament to standards set and maintained. But no cricketer is truly great because of fielding.

It is Ponting’s two main skills – batting and captaincy – that define him as a great. Or otherwise.

As a batsman, Ponting lacked (only just mind) two elements of greatness (possibly magnified in my eyes because these flaws didn’t seem to bother anyone else). His first movement was always forward, trusting his dead fish eye and to deal with even the fastest of bowling from a yard or two closer than was absolutely necessary. Even back-foot shots (including the celebrated signature swivel pull) were, more often than not, played from a “neutral” position, neither forward nor back. It is a batting style that could only have been developed in the age of body armour, as the penalty for misjudgment would have been too great in the time before chest pads and helmets. It made watching Ponting somewhat repetitive after a while – especially if Matthew Hayden was at the other end, doing the same thing even more obviously. The batting greatness failed the aesthetics criterion.

He also (again only by the highest of standards) failed the balance criterion. Early in an innings, many batsmen struggle to get their feet moving, but this was not a problem for Ponting. His problem was the opposite – moving the feet too much, lunging so far at the ball with the front pad that the bat and head couldn’t catch up and he would occasionally edge to slip. Ishant Sharma (amongst others) troubled him a lot with a ball that bounced on about a fifth stump line early on. Once settled, Ponting did not lunge so much, but his balance (and he must have had it to hit the ball as far as he did) was never the same kind of still balance that one saw in Damien Martyn or VVS Laxman, a balance that suggests the world has suddenly slowed down. Punter’s balance was one of many moving parts, a slightly frenetic balance  that suggested that the world had speeded up and only he could now keep pace with it. Ponting was never languid – maybe he never needed to be.

As a captain, his greatest asset was his leadership by example and unquestioned authority in a dressing room not short of those keen to question everything. As with his batting, he was often a touch frenetic in the field, picking fights with opponents and umpires, raising the stakes instead of calming things down. It may have worked – the positive contribution of captaincy is so hard to judge, though its negative contribution is often bleedin’ obvious – but it made watching “ugly Australians” something of a trial at times.  Whole sessions seemed to comprise conversations with umpires about decisions not given, the ball, the light, who knows what – but discussions were seldom brief nor friendly. Maybe I just saw them more often – Punter did captain in 77 Tests and 230 ODIs, so there was plenty of time for familiarity to morph into, well if not quite contempt, then a certain impatience. Watching Ponting in the field could take on the same feeling one gets when in the company of a work colleague you know to be sensitive to slights, real or imagined – eventually you get a bit tired. He was a captain with a fast bowler’s temperament.

But he didn’t have a fast bowler’s imagination. Despite being very active with the umpires, he could let sessions drift, often getting into trouble with over-rates and occasionally making curious decisions (none more so than in 2009 at Cardiff when Marcus North was the man chosen to dislodge Anderson or Panesar). A strange combination of long discussions with bowlers (sometimes, annoyingly, in mid-over) and a field that seemed more the product of a playbook than an instinctive response to changing circumstances, characterised his work. But his results speak for themselves – as they should with resources he had at his disposal for much of his career.

Is that charge sheet – thin as it is even by my reckoning, and I’m counsel for the prosecution – sufficient to disqualify the Tasmanian from being “a Great”? Probably not, but it’s strange that I’d prefer to watch both his predecessor and his successor as batting or leading, not to mention plenty of others. I never felt that frisson of excitement when he walked to the middle and I was always glad to see the back of him whether at the crease or in the field and you’re just not supposed to feel that way about great players. I feared and respected him as an opponent, but I didn’t really connect – maybe that abstract element “connection with me” as a lover of the game, would have been enough to iron over the narrow cracks detailed above. But I never did connect with Punter the cricketer and now I never will.

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Responses

  1. I reckon that in 1948 Neville Cardus could have written a piece in the same vein.

    • At risk of associating myself with a revered name, I think you’re right Paul.

  2. Interesting take on Ponting Gary !

    I understand where you are coming from with regards to his captaincy, but my counter point to that is show me one captain aside from Mark Taylor and Stephen Fleming, who are in imaginative in the slightest bit ? Ponting was a rigid captain, but so too were /are the rest. Michael Clarke for now looks to be cut from a Warne/Taylor cloth, and hopefully remains so for the rest of his tenure.

    As to his batting – admittedly all batsmen are braver now than say in the 70′s and early 80′s. Aside from Hayden, who else actually has shown that it’s possible to pull say someone like Shoaib Akthar from the front foot ? If being protected well was a license to do it, many other batsmen should have done it, but haven’t. In fact, how many batsmen over the last couple of decades, actually play / played the pull/hook with the confidence that Ponting did ?

    Think you are selling Ponting a bit short here ( no pun intended !)

    • Good points all Dilip, especially the one that says that if front-foot / neutral pulling was easy, they’d all do it. KP does at times and Warner does too, but not many I agree.

      It just doesn’t look quite right to me – I admire the technical and physical skills required, but it leaves me a little cold.

  3. If you’re able to argue that Ponting, a plausible candidate for the second greatest no 3 in the history of the game, is not great, then you should probably consider whether you might be working with a concept of greatness that needs at least a little revision.

    • A plausible candidate for second greatest no. 3 who averages just 45 outside 5 Test grounds of Australia ? I must be missing something here

    • It might need a little revision, but that’s what makes the concept interesting!

  4. Hi, Just thought I’d add my 2 cents.

    ” It is a batting style that could only have been developed in the age of body armour”. This may appear as a fair call to the ill informed, but not to me. You might want to know that Ponting often batted without a helmet. As the youngest player to score a 100 in a WC, he smashed around Amborse, Bishop, and co, in the 1996 world cup without a helmet. He even fielded at short leg without a helmet for a majority of his career. Ponting was fearless. His batting was based on fearlessness. There is nothing about body armour helping him develop his game. He doesn’t even wear arm guards or chest guards like Tendulkar.

    “His first movement was always forward”. Umm, there is something called a trigger movement. Some players go forward, others go back and across, others hunch i,e, kallis. It just comes down to what suits each player. Once developed, trigger movements will not change. In fact, a forward trigger movement makes it easier to push back on to the back foot.

    Anyway, if it doesn’t make you happy watching him, then so be it. Each to their own i suppose.

    • I’ve never claimed that Punter wasn’t brave – I have claimed that the style only works (indeed, could only be developed) in the age of body armour. You would just have been hit too often in the 70s and 80s.

      The movement to which I refer is bigger than a trigger movement – it’s more a pre-positioning. it worked for him – but it was ugly to watch for hours on end.

      • Players often work on short pitched bowling by using tennis balls and other similar devices. It is very likely that Ponting could have developed a similar technique in any early era. I fail to see how you dismiss this as implausible. The fact that you say that the development of this technique would require the use of safety equipment is a false pretense. At 15, Ponting was at the Cricket Academy under Rod Marsh. He was sent into bat against a 22 year old big quick by the name of Paul Wilson. I am not sure whether or not Ponting was wearing a helmet, but I do know that Marsh and Ian Chappell watched in awe as the 15 year old hooked every short ball bowled at him. Another story from Hayden’s book. Australia in 99′ prepare for Shoaib Ahktar by facing short deliveries against the bowling machine at full pace (105-110mph). Keep in mind that deliveries from the bowling machine don’t slow down off the pitch and hurry on. According to Hayden, every batsman in the side had nothing to do with it; they all got out the way, all of them except R. Ponting.

        You say his pull shot was ugly because he neither got right back or forward. Yet, most people unanmiously agree that the Ponting pull is one of the best sights in cricket. Go figure. I just hope you don’t write about Alastair Cook’s greatness. There isn’t a limb in his body that has grace or elegance when batting.

        Regarding trigger movements, EVERY BATSMAN has a repetitive trigger movement. I don’t see how ponting is any different in that since he does it all the time, it’s boring to watch. Yes he threw his front leg forward, so? Try bounce him ;)

  5. I’m sure you are not alone in your view Toots
    First, one thing I have to get off my chest – why is “resources he had at his disposal for much of his career” never something hung around the neck of his predecessor so tightly? Not to put Steve Waugh down, but history seems destined to forever judge him via a lower standard. He had all those resources, you could argue including Ponting, at their peaks. For most series, Waughs hardest job was to decide who should drive the bus.

    I do like your line “He was a captain with a fast bowler’s temperament. But he didn’t have a fast bowler’s imagination.” One of the things that always amused me about Ponting was not that he seemed to have to pick a fight, but that he seemed to forever pick the wrong fight. It’s for this reason I’d bet that if Ponting was born 20 years earlier, there would be archive pictures of him somewhere all bandaged up like David Hookes.

    Stats are funny things sometimes, like this one – Ponting lost 3 Ashes series out of the 4 he captained but actually captained more test wins against England than losses. Without trying to put words in your mouth, maybe that stat sums him up for you – more than enough wins, but not where it counts?
    I for one will miss him.

    • Very good stuff Jim. You’re right that the resources line isn’t used about Steve Waugh (though it is about Clive Lloyd) but maybe that’s because Waugh still had to defeat a mighty West Indies and a near invincible India in India. We can hardly blame Punter for not having those challenges.

      Picking the wrong fight is a very astute observation – some cricketers just do. McGrath always seemed to pick the right fight – maybe because it was all a bit of a show for him (ex Ronnie of course).

      He won plenty, but in a tight corner, you would want him as a batsman, but as a captain? Maybe not. (And I believe 100% that that Ashes record was determined by McGrath standing on the ball – I’ll never lay the 2005 loss at Punter’s door).

      • Gary, you have confused Steve Waugh and Mark Taylor here. Steve Waugh’s Australian side blanked West Indies 5 – 0 in Aus. Also drew 2 – 2 in his first series as captain but that was largely due to Lara’s brilliance. Steve Waugh never captained against a great West Indies side.

        Mark Taylor’s Australian side beat the last good West Indies team in 1995 ( I’d say Allan Border’s side played against the last great West Indies team), and that was the start of the slide of the West Indies side which hasn’t quiet stopped fully yet.

        What some people tend to forget is, it’s not easy to maintain a winning mentality for so long. Ponting took over from Waugh in 2004 and until 2008 ensured the Australian juggernaut kept going. He deserves some credit for that.

        • Dilip – Thanks. I wondered if I’d got the eras right, but you’re on it! Lara was astonishingly good in that series wasn’t he?

          Yep – Punter held it together for series after series. A better captain off the field than on it – as so many are (ex Flintoff obviously).

  6. [...] Ricky Ponting – an alternative view [...]

  7. As an Indian fan, I never liked Ponting, mainly because of his role in the bitter 2007-08 India tour of Australia. And his batting failed as often as it clicked against India (Honorable exception of the 2003 World Cup final).
    So maybe not a true great, but he was certainly one of the finest to have played in the past 2 decades.

    My thoughts on Ponting are here http://www.batball2cricket.blogspot.in/2012/12/farewell-ricky-ponting.html

  8. [...] Gary Naylor (99.94) [...]

  9. Agree with you that Ponting was not an aesthetic batsman, but mighty effective, yes. I dont think that all batsmen designated as ‘greats’ in the history of the game were pleasing on the eye, neither has the world seen a perfect batsman (i’ve heard even Don had a faulty stance). Purely on batting terms, i would include him in my team ahead of Dravid and Kallis at No. 3 (provided Lara was not available).

    But, yes, he was an obnoxious presence on the field most of the times. I dont remember anyone else abusing so gleefully the old Aussie adage of ‘playing hard but fair’. And to think he always got off scot free! He lacked class, he lacked style and he lacked the quality to earn respect (as opposed to striking fear in the hearts of opposition). That his arrogance rode upon his ‘golden’ teammates and their success becomes all the more evident on his having mellowed down in the twilight of his career when success was hard to come by.

    His captaincy, obviously, was ordinary, if not poor. Allowed India a comeback in Nagpur, if I recall correctly, by bowling trundlers only to boost the over rate, when all that was needed for Australia to close the game then and there was a burst of fast bowling.

    In the end, a great batsman but a rather disparaging cricketer and an ordinary/ poor captain.

    • I take those points with which I largely agree. Whether the package adds up to a “great player” is a personal, subjective judgement – the record is certainly great.

  10. Tooting trumpet, a refreshing view. I for one as an Aussie was never taken with Punter as a batsman and thought he was a woeful captain. His batting was clunky and almost cliche in the way he thrust that front pad out at everything, hard hands and repetitive strokes, watching him undone in England in 2005 was one of the great sights of cricket for me. I don’t think he will ever count as one of the greats of cricket, there are at least a dozen batsmen that were his superior in every way that have played the game since Bradman retired, and a couple still playing that will end up with better records (Clarke, Sanga, & Kallis). So he wasn’t the best of his generation, he was one of the worst captains ever to wear the baggy green, and he was one of the worst sportsmen to ever captain Australia. All respect for the Australian cricket team internationally was destroyed by him personally. I for one am ecstatic that his is gone.

    • It’s rather a strong view, but I (obviously) know where you’re coming from. Not many will end up with better records if we roll in runs, wins, ODI runs and World Cups. The record is ultra-impressive. Other elements of his game were impressive too – but some elements were not.

      • The record means little if he damages the game in his own country. I have personally seen the change in attitude in Aussie club cricket since he took the reigns. His attitude to the game had a tremendously bad flow on affect all the way down to grass roots Australian cricket.

        • False cause methinks.

        • What an absolute load of drivel. Geoffrey your personal view of club cricket in Australia is mightily narrow if you reckon Ponting’s attitude has had a “bad flow on effect”! Did you experience club cricket, especially at grade level in the 80′s or 70′s for that matter? My family did, I have in the 90′s, and I play club cricket now. Believe me the standard of behaviour now in regards to code of conduct is far better than it was then!
          I have no quibble with an argument re some of Ponting’s behaviour, and his Captaincy but to lay this on him is unfair and ridiculous.

          • Why ridiculous? Have you ever coached junior cricket? Have you ever seen young blokes aping this idiots on field antics at under 12 level? This man was the role model for thousands of young Aussie cricketers, they watch what is on TV, and follow it to the T. Ponting was the most deplorable cricketer ever to wear the baggy green.

            • Geoffrey there have been changing standards of behaviour occurring so often that to attribute one such change to one person is ridiculous. What it smacks of is your antipathy towards an individual manifesting as a childish rant holding him responsible for everything that you feel is wrong.
              I am not arguing that there hasn’t been a change in behaviour, I am arguing that not one person is responsible for that change. Regarding the appealing that you seem to deplore, over appealing has been an issue at many levels of the game for some time, well before Ponting came on the scene. And yes, I know that from experience, having been a junior and senior coach for some 20 years.

  11. A great warrior indeed. Punter was the epitome of the ugly Australian, a tag I’m sure he would be fine with. What he learned as a kid in Launceston was what he based his team on: don’t give a sucker an even break. Of course, the Gary Pratt shoe-on-the-other-foot did not portray him in the best light, and the arguments with the Indians & monkeygate were lowlights, too. Tough as nails, I admired this guy wringing every last bit of talent that he could. Alas, like many, I found it hard to warm to him most times.

    • Why alas? Shows taste in cricketers to me..

  12. Interesting. I can’t say I agree wholeheartedly but I will say that my favourite batsmen – Lara, daylight, VVS, de Silva etc., – are that because they are more aesthetically pleasing than their compatriots. And while Ponting wouldn’t fall into the aesthetic batsmen category, he was awesome to behold – especially at the peak of his powers between 2002 and 2007. I will never forget his batting at the WC Final in 2003. Dear lord, that was frightening to watch. And from such a little bugger.

    As for those technical quirks – eh who cares?

    I still hold Lara’s backlift as the greatest sight in cricket in my two decades of watching this game. I’d wager that 99% of batters trying to incorporate such a flamboyant backlift – along with those other trigger movements he had at the crease – would have failed, perhaps embarrassingly so. He made it work. As did Ponting with that lunge. I’d say a high proportion of batsmen would fail if they moved forward like Ponting did. The wonder with batsmen like him is they make it work despite it looking a glaring error to us arm chair critics.

    You could tell a lot about a batsmen with his initial foot movement: the ones who instinctively move forward vs the ones who move back. Ricky didn’t move forward, he pounced. And like Lara with his backlift, what could have been his greatest weakness became his greatest strength. How much of a strength it was can be gauged in Ponting’s quite amazing record.

    Oh and PS: “It is a batting style that could only have been developed in the age of body armour”. Okay, so by that token of logic: Sachin coming down the pitch to slap Akthar over Long Off repeatedly in his 2003 world cup epic wouldn’t have been possible either. Technique evolves along with the game. Get over yourself.

    • You mean “devolve” you have just as much admitted that players in the uncovered pitches/pre-helmet era are superior technically and personally (courage wise) as any of those that came after. Bradman’s 99.94 average seems almost incomprehensible given that admission.

      • You do realize that I was merely responding to the very same inference from the writer, yes? i.e. if you follow through on his token of logic, most modern batsmen wouldn’t be able to do what they do well if it weren’t for the enhanced protection that the modern game affords them in the first place.

        In response to the inference you seem to have taken from my response: suppose that is the case, that the pre-helmet era guys were indeed technically superior? Why is that such a leap of faith? This is obviously conjecture on my part, but is it so hard to believe that the most basic of human traits – self protection – would have driven them to have text book perfect techniques then?

        Fast run scoring, inventiveness of shot making, etc., – all the things we associate with today’s hyper professional era – would possibly have been low in the list of priorities then. And only the rare players – the Trumpers, Bradmans, and the Jessops – blessed with amazing hand eye coordination would have gone against this status quo.

    • Some very astute points indeed. Punter, like everyone, is a product of his time and, like all successful players, found a style and made it work. He was scary – but it was lovely when he walked off and Mark Waugh or Damien Martyn walked in.

      • Aye. Martyn is one of the most beautifully balanced batsmen, probably the most aesthetically pleasing Australian batsmen along with Mark Waugh. A point I’d like to raise: I can’t think of many aesthetically pleasing Australian batsmen, certainly not from the era that I am familiar with. Can you?

        Hayden, Gilchrist, Langer, S Waugh? Hell no. Maybe Clarke now. Certainly not Hussey. Mighty effective all of them? Yes.

  13. Just reading the various views. Ponting the captain comes up a fair bit. Does he get any credit for his ODI record, or is it the view than ODI teams pretty much run themselves? The team he captained stayed as undisputed #1 for years longer than it had any right to be.

    Is it possible to give one judgement on Ponting the Test captain and Ponting the one day captain?

    • One day cricket? Who cares?

      • That’s a bit of a one dimensional view of life?
        I’m more than happy to put my hand up and say I love one day cricket.

        • I love ODI cricket too and Ponting was as good an ODI batsman as I’ve seen. Still felt a bit like one of those Now That’s What I Call Music Volume 94 – hit after hit after hit. I’d rather watch Bevan making 76 off 89 balls to win with three to spare than Punter make 120 off 96 balls.

        • Can’t stand it. I’ve played cricket for the last 20 seasons and always sit out the scheduled one day matches. I also find watching T20 just as boring as the 50 over version of the same circus cricket.

    • Well Jim, his ODI team, the one which stayed #1 for eternity, pretty much selected itself and ran itself.

      • Australia was the undisputed #1 from September 2009 to October 2011. Winning the ICC Champions trophy in 2009 and winning most series after that point for a couple of years. Winning 48 of 65 completed ODIs. For most of that time they were 10+ ranking points higher than the next best ODI team. Of course you had everyone’s mate, Shane Watson, and the Hussey’s, Clarke and Ponting himself. Sometimes there was Lee and Doug the rug. But the bulk of the teams in this period were made up of the guys like Hopes, Hauritz, White, Ferguson, Harris, Voges, Paine, Marsh, Hastings, Smith, Doherty, McKay and Forrest.
        I’m sure everyone has a favourite or two in that lot who they think should have been given a better crack, but I have to look at those names and wonder how the hell did they stay so far ahead of everyone else in ODIs for most of that period? It’s certainly not a list that would intimidate anyone.
        Maybe it was all down to Watson? Maybe it was the coach? Or maybe, while he didn’t pass the grade as a test skipper, the captain knew a thing or two about being an ODI skipper.

  14. Can I thank everyone who has visited 99.94 and especially those who troubled to comment. This post was not intended to be one with which many readers would concur, but I felt it a useful counter-balance to the almost universal praise for a player who attracted plenty of criticism over a career.

    It’s unabashedly subjective – but that’s blogging!

    • You’ve done a great job as usual. It’s always much more enjoyable to be able to discuss a man’s flaws in an adult way without all the groupies getting in your face.

  15. Great to see a more honest piece rather than the hagiography that have passed for tributes. Thought he got away with a far too much than was appropriate, eg betting scandals, for a player of his supposed stature, and how on earth did he not get more lbws particularly in Australia. Greg Chappell was his superior by far as batsman and captain. In truth I felt his pitiful batting and constant tiresome chatting with bowlers in the past 2 series showed how much he had overstayed his welcome. My abiding memory of him will be on all fours yorked by Kalllis, and not Steyn or even Morkel, like a blind man having taken a stumble in the dark. To say he went on his own volition is an absolute denial of the bleeding obvious

    • Yeah, its like painting the plastic green to say that he quit of his own volition. I remember reading his assertions to play the next Ashes before the SA series began. Also there were a number of reports of him having full support of the selectors and the team. My guess is had he scored a half century or two in the first two tests, he would have lumbered on only to be humiliated by the English next year.

  16. I’m another Aussie who is glad to see Ponting gone.
    I’d say he stayed for about 3, maybe 4, seasons too many. And he should never have been made captain. I agree that he’s the face of the ugly Australian. If he’s proud of that, then I’m even more disappointed.

    • True, but I do wonder, given the players available/”quality” produced during the last ashes series, and given the view of Clarke in the media at the time. Heaven help us where we’d be now if Ponting had gone when he should have and Clarke was held up and crucified for that performance. At least he got to take over with the semblance of a fledgling bowling attach with which to move the team forward. Even Mark Taylor would have struggled in that series.

  17. [...] Ricky Ponting – an alternative view [...]

  18. You are being alternative just for the sake of being alternative. If with Ponting’s record you believe he is not a great, then you must be very hard to please. Over the last 40 years of watching cricket ,I believe that Ponting was easily one of the best players you’d pay money to watch.You can ask any of his adversaries what they think of him, whether they got along with him or not. I believe that you fall into the category of hating a particular player for whatever reason and therefore colouring your view point of the worth and value of what that player has the contributed to the game of cricket. Disagree with your blog, there I’ve said it.

  19. Batting greatness is not characterized by the aesthetics or the technical abilities my friend. It is characterized by the ability to dig your team out of a tricky situation when needed the most, or by dominating the opposition so wholesomely that they are batted out of the game, or by driving the team to safety when all hope seems to be lost, or even by scoring heavily against all opposition, under all conditions, anywhere in the world. Ponting gets a check on all these counts and many more. And it is not that he wasn’t pleasing to the eye either.

    I am an Indian and have hated Ponting all my life. : http://the-street-corner.blogspot.in/2012/12/ricky-ponting.html

    But the fact remains that Ponting was indeed is a great batman. Not a great leader or an individual perhaps. But a bloody great batsman. Period.

    • I refer above only to my view that he is not a great player – he was a great batsman, even if I didn’t care for watching him.

  20. Ricky,for me is the most aesthetic batsman to watch anyday, very resourceful ,and attacking.when he was at crease,every ball meant action.no shot in cricket looks as great as a ponting’s pull shot.

  21. What a really strange thing to write. I know you’ve been writing and commenting on cricket for years, so to say such a thing about one of best Australian cricketers of this generation is just bizarre. Hitting the bottle before you fired up the PC? Only possible explaination.
    One thing that strikes me above and beyond all the stuff about his skill as an individual, is his dedication to the team. God knows where Australian cricket would be if he had retired along with the others. He sheperded Australia through a transition, which was an invaluable contribution. He could have retired a hero, like the others, but chose to finish his career scraping the best results he could manage with the reduced talent he had available.

    • All good points Fred – at least the ones about Punter! I understand your views of course. But I differ – and I know that I’ll be in a minority. Though, as the comments show, not a minority of one.


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