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'If I didn't feel the hunger, I wouldn't be playing the game'

Last updated on: January 4, 2012 17:00 IST

'If I didn't feel the hunger, I wouldn't be playing the game'

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Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting, who silenced his critics by scoring a sparkling 134 against India, on Wednesday said he hung in there because he had "hunger" to do well at the international level despite being under enormous pressure.

"If I didn't feel the hunger, I wouldn't be playing the game. There has been more pressure on me in recent times than at any stage of my career. I have had to work harder. I am a proud person and I want to finish off my career the way I wanted. I love a contest too much to give it away," Ponting, who notched up his 40th Test century, told reporters after the second day's play.

"I want to give myself the best chance, taking Australia from No 5 to top of the tree where we deserve to be," he said.


Image: Ricky Ponting of Australia changes his shirt during day two of the Second Test Match between Australia and India at Sydney Cricket Ground
Photographs: Getty Images

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'If you think you can do it, keep doing it'

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For someone who is 37 now, the key to do well at this age at the highest level is to retain one's self belief. 

"Keep having the self belief. If you think you can do it, keep doing it. If you think training can't make you a better player, you are wasting your time. I have spoken to a lot of other great players who retired while I was playing. They said they couldn't find themselves to train as hard as they once did."

Ponting felt that the inner call was very important when one was standing at a difficult crossroad in one's career. 

"Honestly, when I have looked at the mirror, I have known that I want to get better, keep scoring runs, keep playing."


Image: Ricky Ponting of Australia cuts during day two of the Second Test Match between Australia and India at Sydney Cricket Ground
Photographs: Getty Images
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'I have worked exceptionally hard in recent times'

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Quizzed whether another veteran Jacques Kallis' 41st Test ton on Tuesday spurred him to do well, pat came a sarcastic
reply, "If I have to get inspired by what's happening in other side of the world, I wouldn't be playing." 

While his critics were baying for his blood, Ponting said that he was working very hard on some key technical aspects of
the game. 

"I have worked exceptionally hard in recent times. There were a few technical aspects of my game which I have been doing and which have now paid dividends. It's all starting to come back. There's rhythm about my batting again and I am feeling easy at the crease." 

"It's amazing when you have a lean trot how little things creep into your head and come in between what you're trying to do," the veteran of 160 Tests said.


Image: Ricky Ponting of Australia dives for his ground to bring up his century during day two of the Second Test
Photographs: Getty Images

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'It's amazing what confidence can do to you'

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Ponting also stated that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done and he can't just sit back and rest on his laurels.

"It's amazing what confidence can do to you. But it's not about getting carried away. There are certain things I have to keep working on.

"There's second innings in this match. There is Perth and Adelaide, where we both (Michael Clarke) have had reasonable success.

"But you can't afford to look that far. It's the next ball, the next time when you get a chance to bat."


Image: Ricky Ponting of Australia celebrates his century during day two of the Second Test
Photographs: Getty Images

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'If you look at the record, it suggests Clarke has become better'

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The former captain praised Clarke's leadership skills and commented that the latter's batting has improved with added responsibility on his shoulders. 

"If you look at the record, it suggests it has (Clarke has become better). It's fairly similar to me. His average went up a lot.

"As a leader, the stuff you do on the field --- bowling and fielding changes are the easier part. There's so much other than that is required (to be a successful captain) outside the field.


Image: Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke of Australia reflect on their partnership of 288 runs after day two of the Second Test Match between Australia and India at Sydney Cricket Ground
Photographs: Getty Images
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'It helps to make the dressing room as happy as it can be'

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Ponting said a happy dressing room always helps in raising the level of performance. 

"It helps to make the dressing room as happy as it can be.

"Michael has the ability to separate batting from captaincy, keep his personal life apart and lead from the front. It's very important (to keep things separate) and he's done very well."


Image: Ricky Ponting of Australia
Photographs: Getty Images
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