Ponting picks his greatest XI cricketers

Former Australia captain names his ultimate side from those he played with and against

Dave Middleton

11 August 2016, 07:49 PM AEST

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has named his greatest XI made up of individuals he played alongside or against in his stellar 18-year first-class career.

The XI features a heavy smattering of Australians – five in all – but perhaps unsurprising from an era where Australia dominated all forms of cricket.

Ricky Ponting's Greatest XI

Openers: Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden (Australia)

"Two guys that I really enjoyed batting behind, and two different batting styles," Ponting said on a video posted by the Lord's website.

"Matty Hayden, always big and tall at the crease, always on the front foot, always putting pressure back on the bowlers.

"And his little mate Justin Langer at the other end, who is one of my greatest mates from my playing times."

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No.3 Jaques Kallis (South Africa)

The spot Ponting himself would usually fill in the order, the former Australia skipper humbly instead opted to include South Africa allrounder Jaques Kallis.

With 45 Test centuries, 13,289 Test runs and 292 wickets, Kallis is one of the modern greats.

From the vault: Kallis's defiant SCG ton

No.4 Sachin Tendulkar (India)

"There's not too many greatest XIs you could pick without Sachin in it," Ponting said.

"His longevity in the game was remarkable, he had a great record against Australia, and as a captain of an opposition team playing against him, he gave us lots of nightmares and certainly won lots of games, both one-day internationals and Test matches."

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No.5 Brian Lara

"Another guy that gave me nightmares as a captain was Brian Lara, the West Indies legend," Ponting said.

"I must admit, as an opposition captain going to sleep at night, if Brian Lara wasn't out going into day five then you knew you had a challenge on your hands.

Highlights of Brian Lara's fifty

"He single-handedly probably won more games for the West Indies than most other players have won for their country.

"The class of that man with the bat in his hand was unbelievable."

No.6. Kumar Sangakkara (captain, Sri Lanka)

The Sri Lanka legend was nominated to be the captain of this all-star XI, and described by Ponting as "one of the modern–day greats".

"A very determined player, loved winning and gave his team every opportunity to win when he was out in the middle," Ponting said.

The Art of Batting with Kumar Sangakkara

"Also a great leader of men, and that's why he's my captain."

No.7 Adam Gilchrist (wk, Australia)

Little surprise that Ponting's former Australia teammate – and current KFC Big Bash League co-commentator – was named to wear the gloves in his XI.

"He really revolutionised the way wicketkeepeing was perceived," Ponting said.

"Every team, once Gilly had made his mark on international cricket, was looking for someone as their wicketkeeper that could bat in the way that Gilchrist was able to bat."

Glorious Gilchrist

No.8 Shane Warne (Australia)

The Australian leg-spinning maestro was named by Ponting as "the best spinner that I'd certainly seen".

"That's not being biased," Ponting added, a nod to his choice ahead of leading Test wicket-taker Muthiah Muralidaran. "The art and skill he had as a leg-spinner was quite remarkable."

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No.9. Wasim Akram (Pakistan)

"Probably the most skilled fast bowler I played against, and it wasn't just with the new ball either," Ponting said.

"He had an ability to swing the new ball both ways close to 150kph, and when the ball got old the reverse swing skills he had were quite remarkable.

"As a batsman you never felt you were settled and safe."

From the Vault: Scary Akram baffles Aussies

No.10 Curtly Ambrose (West Indies)

"He landed the ball on a line and length all the time (and) for me was always someone that was trying to put pressure back on the batsman.

"They were the sort of bowlers that made life most difficult for me."

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No.11 Glenn McGrath (Australia)

Ponting quipped this was "where he should have always batted right throughout his career" – a reference to McGrath's long-running gag at press conferences to mention his improving batting and desire to move up the order, even when nobody asked.

"Undoubtedly one of the great fast bowlers of the modern era," Ponting said.

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"Luckily for me I had the chance to captain Glenn on a number of occasions.

"If I was ever picking a team – one-day international or a Test match – Glenn McGrath is certainly the first bowler I would pick."

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