The blokes in my house think it’s appropriate to down-tools and go to the cricket whenever they damn-well feel like it. I dared to question that ethos recently, and was put back in my box with these words: Ricky Ponting is playing. And that, my friends, was that.

Ricky Ponting - Blundstone Arena

Blundstone Arena: Sheffield Shield final for Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting: Cricketing Royalty

I’m a tennis fan, so Gavin explained the scenario like this: if Roger Federer came to the tennis courts on the Queens Domain in Hobart, you would go and watch him play. Especially if there was a chance it might be his last match. Ricky Ponting is the Roger Federer of cricket. See ya!

Ricky Ponting - Blundstone Arena, Bellerive

Blundstone Arena, Bellerive Tasmania

To be honest, I don’t really mind at all. Before moving to Hobart from rural South Australia about five years ago, attending a first-class game of cricket involved a three-hour drive to Adelaide Oval. We just didn’t do it. But now, we can zip off to Blundstone Arena in Bellerive to watch the Hobart Hurricanes; a Sheffield Shield match or even see Australia play.

We can go along for just the final session if we want. We can drive there and park the car within walking distance of the oval (and that in itself is a miracle for anyone who has ever lived in Melbourne before!) AND we sometimes have the chance to see Ricky Ponting play.

Ricky Ponting - Sheffield Shield

Tassie Tigers v Queensland Bulls: Sheffield Shield final

Tassie Tigers Sheffield Shield Victory

There has been cricket-fuelled jubilation in our house this week, I must say. The Tassie Tigers won the Sheffield Shield competition, taking the trophy after playing out a draw with second-placed Queensland Bulls. That was fantastic, and the junior-burgers are pretty stoked to belong to a state with such an impressive cricket record. They’ve waved their flags and had their hats and bats signed at the oval.

Ricky Ponting - Tassie Tigers

A flag from the Tasmanian Cricket Museum

But the best news of the week has been the indication from Ricky Ponting (it’s in all the newspapers) that he’ll play on next season. So there will be more chances to watch the legend in action next year. Which helps explain why Gavin earmarked a seat in the members during his tour of the Blundstone Arena Function Centre with the event sales manager Liz Gifford recently.

Ricky Ponting - Blundstone Arena Members

View of the oval: Blundstone Arena Function Centre

Ricky Ponting to Play on For Tasmania… Hopefully!

Mind you, Ricky Ponting is not making any rock-solid promises. If the old boy survives the winter season playing in the Indian Premier League, the English county competition and a Caribbean Twenty20 tournament, then he’ll pad up again for Cricket Tasmania. But he’s only 38… if Dustin Fletcher can still run around for the Bombers in the AFL, surely Ricky Ponting can swat a few balls to the boundary?

You would’ve realised by now that the topics of Ricky Ponting and cricket don’t play to my strengths. I know the bloke is a cricketing legend… I have a house full of fans who tell me. So I’ve gone to someone who knows all there is to know about Tasmania (Carol Haberle), who informs me…

Ricky Ponting was the youngest Tasmanian to ever play in a Sheffield Shield match;  four weeks off his 18th birthday… that was in November 1992.

What Do We Know About Ricky Ponting?

Apart from several very lame jokes about being “stumped” and “caught out” and having someone “bail her out”… Carol’s cricketing knowledge is about on par with my own. A quick flick through the countless online articles about Ricky Ponting will also reveal (and I’m paraphrasing the sporting experts here)…

  • despite a long and illustrious cricketing career, this Sheffield Shield trophy is his first
  • he retired from international cricket in December 2012 and then went on to top the list of Shield run-scorers
  • he is widely considered by many to be one of the best batsman of the modern era
  • he was appointed as the One Day International captain in 2002 and Australian Test captain in 2004

Ricky Ponting came to Tasmania this February to play a match for his original club side (Mowbray) at Invermay Park in Launceston. He’s one of the rare breed of elite athletes who remembers the opportunities afforded him as a grass-roots player, having made his first-grade debut with the so-called “working-class club” of Mowbray as a talented 12-year-old.

At the completion of the match in Launceston, he was quoted… he would “be around and eat a hamburger on the sidelines” even if he wasn’t given the chance to play for the club again. When a local legend comes to town, every mass media publication arrives on cue. Hopefully Mowbray will offer Ricky Ponting a very large serve of complimentary fries with that hamburger; let alone a place in the batting order.

Ricky Ponting - Batting

Ricky Ponting at the crease: Tassie Tigers

Ricky Ponting, you’re a legend in my eyes. You’re right up there with Roger Federer!

Die-hard cricket fans can visit the Cricket Tasmania Museum and Library at Blundstone Arena. There’s even a Ricky Ponting corner, which was opened by the man himself in February 2010 prior to the first Twenty20 International match under lights at Bellerive. Entry to the Tasmanian Cricket Museum costs $2 for adults and $1 for children. Email Cricket Tasmania or phone 6282 0433 for details.

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Map: Blundstone Arena, Bellerive Tasmania

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