Hobart (Australia), Feb 24 (IANS) Some Tasmanians may believe former skipper Ricky Ponting deserved a One-Day International farewell at his home ground Bellerive Oval, yet a near-capacity crowd turned up for Australia’s tri-series match against Sri Lanka here Friday.
Cricket Tasmania chief David Johnston did not believe Ponting’s absence was a factor as a crowd upwards of 13,000 turned up — 2,500 short of the capacity.
‘Last year (against England) we had a sellout which we haven’t got this time, whether that’s a product of how people are viewing one-day cricket or the longer triangular series,’ Johnston was quoted as saying by The Age.
Johnston said while Tasmanian fans will be disappointed at not giving an apt farewell to Ponting, but hoped that the presence of local lads Xavier Doherty and Ben Hilfenhaus will offset his absence.
‘Also we had five (Big Bash League) games here, including a semi-final, with average crowds of 11,000. Some Tasmanian supporters might have been disappointed that Ponting is not playing, but that will be balanced out by Xavier Doherty playing his first international here and Ben Hilfenhaus being in the squad as well,’ he said.
Johnston said he is not a big fan of farewell matches and that fans will see Ponting in a Bellerive Test match next year.
‘I’m not a big fan of farewell games; people get selected on their merits. It would have been terrific (if Ponting was playing) but the bonus is we have him for the Ryobi Cup final in Adelaide Saturday, and hopefully we’ll see him playing in a Bellerive Test match next year,’ he said.
Australian captain Michael Clarke hoped Ponting would play a lot more Test cricket.
‘He’s certainly going to be missed. I’ve been great friends with Punter for a long time and that certainly won’t change. But I’ve also played a lot of one-day cricket with him and it’s going to feel really weird looking around the field and not seeing him,’ he said.