What a coup! Ricky Ponting signs to play for Surrey

 

The former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has signed a short-term deal to play for Surrey in a significant coup for the county.

The deal means the man who led his country on their last two Ashes tours in 2005 and 2009 but retired from the international game in December will be in England during this summer’s Ashes series.

He will play for Surrey during June and July report The Evening Standard. Graeme Smith, the county’s new skipper and other high-profile signing, is due to represent South Africa in the ICC Champions Trophy during that period.

Ponting has appeared in county cricket before, during a short spell for Somerset in 2004. He is one of the most accomplished batsmen of the last 20 years and is best-known to English followers for his exploits in the Ashes, during which he was on the winning side for five series but lost three of his four as skipper.

Ponting’s spell at Surrey coincides with this year’s battle for the urn, which starts at Trent Bridge on July 10. The batsman said: “It will be very strange to know that a few hours away there will be an Ashes Test going on and I won’t be part of it.

“But I’ve had a chance to think about all that over the last three or four months and just to be in the country while a series like that is happening will be a lot of fun.

“I thought my days of playing in England might have been over after I knew I wasn’t going to be on the Ashes tour this year. I’ve probably got a few too many bad memories from the Oval because of Ashes series gone by (Australia lost the last two campaigns in England on this ground) so I hope I can walk away with some better ones this time.”

Even though Ponting appears to have given up on the Ashes, consider the following scenario: two Australian batsmen suffer injuries during the early part of the series.

At the same time, Ponting is scoring dozens of runs in county cricket right under the noses of some of his former team-mates. It is easy to see Michael Clarke and Mickey Arthur, Australia’s captain and coach respectively, deciding to send for the Tasmanian – and equally straightforward to imagine what his response would be.

Yet when Ponting arrives in England this summer, his priority will be Surrey alone. It was already an impressive effort for the county to secure the signing of Smith, generally regarded as the finest Test captain in the modern international game, and this is another eye-catching deal.

Smith and Ponting are two of the most successful international players of recent times. The salary cap for counties’ playing staff is £1.9million but Surrey say they can accommodate the wages of both men within that structure.

The pair could even play in the same side during the domestic Twenty20 competition in July, but not in the Championship, where only one overseas player per team is permitted. Surrey hope that, like Smith, Ponting’s presence will not only improve results, but guide promising young batsmen like Rory Burns, Jason Roy and Zafar Ansari.

It is not yet decided whether Ponting will lead the side in Smith’s absence, with the final call on that left to the South African.

“Working with young players is one of the exciting things about this,” Ponting told Surrey TV. “For an experienced international player, it’s fun to play alongside young guys, learn about them and try to impart some knowledge, whether that be technical or tactical.

“Graeme Smith will start the season there, we’ve played a lot against each other and we’re pretty similar in how we play and see the game. There are lots of exciting times ahead for the young Surrey players, and hopefully some of the experienced ones will be able to learn a bit from Graeme and me as well.

“I’m exceptionally excited to be back in England. I’ve only had one chance to play in county cricket before now, and I’ve always said I wanted to come back. I’m thankful that I’ll get that chance with Surrey.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
One of the 'princesses' in the video
videoYouTube reinstates sweary video after takedown for 'violating terms'
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?