Ricky Ponting in his last presser as Australian Captain, after the Fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne, December 2010. He’d just lost the Ashes for a third time as Captain..
One of CricInfo’s ‘Chuck Fleetwood-Smiths’, Jarrod Kimber, very nicely pointed out in his 2010/2011 Ashes post mortem book, Australian Autopsy, that I asked Ricky Ponting his last question as Australia’s Test Captain. It was at the end of Day 4 of the Boxing Day Test, after England had regained the Ashes, and Ponting would later be ruled out of the Fifth Test in Sydney a week later.
Ponting would stand down as Australian Captain after the 2011 World Cup, a few months later.
This is how Jarrod recorded it:
“Then the last question was by Brett from The Roar. When they said it was Brett’s question, everyone turned to him. He looked pale, and he struggled to get his question out cohesively. ‘Do you see an immediate thing that you can change to lift the team in a couple of days?’ It was a good question, and Ponting answered it as well as he had the others. It couldn’t have been scripted better: if this was Ponting’s last Test, as a player or Captain, Brett was the best person in the room to ask him the final question. It was as if the last question was saved for a fan, rather than for another journalist. It was probably my favourite moment of the whole series.”
It was as full a press conference as any had been during the Test. None of knew at the time that this would be Ponting’s last as Captain..
I did struggle with the question, and it was a good one; so good in fact, that Channel Ten used Ponting’s answer in its entirety that night in their news bulletins and on Sports Tonight. It may have been because I was standing right next to the Ten camera, and so it did look like Ponting was looking down the barrel, but I’m running with it being such a good question.
Of course, none of us knew it at the time, but it would be the last time Ponting answered a presser question wearing the Baggy Green…