Stel­lar RICKY PONTING

Q &A for­mer crick­eter “No doubt my name will fea­ture in [Michael Clarke’s book]. It prob­a­bly won’t be all pos­i­tive”

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Q&A - In­ter­view by AL­LEY PAS­COE To see be­hind the scenes of Ricky’s Swisse cam­paign in Mum­bai, visit swisse.com/en-au.

The Aus­tralian Test cap­tain is said to be the sec­ond-most im­por­tant job in the coun­try – be­hind be­ing PM. How heav­ily did that weigh on you dur­ing your reign? It ac­tu­ally didn’t. I re­ally en­joyed the time I had as the Aus­tralian cap­tain and I didn’t think about the enor­mity of the job. I had a job to do: I had a squad of play­ers to look af­ter and I wanted to win as many games as I could. As cap­tain, I felt like I was the pro­tec­tor of the team. If we lost, I wanted to be able to take all that and shield the play­ers from it. That’s how I looked at the cap­taincy: I’m the se­nior man, I’m in charge, and what­ever good or bad comes along, I’ll be re­spon­si­ble for that. You’re known for be­ing a tough com­peti­tor, but your wife, Rianna, stud­ied law. Who wins the de­bates at home? Do men ever win de­bates in house­holds? Rianna is ob­vi­ously very in­tel­li­gent, that’s one of the things that at­tracted me to her. She’s very driven and had great plans for what she wanted to do with her life. But since we met and said we weren’t go­ing to have more than three weeks apart, she hasn’t been able to ful­fil some of the things she wanted to do. With her dou­ble de­gree, she could do what­ever she wanted to in the work­force. She might have to do that in the next cou­ple of years, when things start dry­ing up for me. What’s harder: get­ting three kids fed, dressed and out the door in the morn­ing, or play­ing an Ashes Test at Lord’s? Oh that’s easy, at least I know what I’m do­ing when I’m play­ing cricket! No, to be hon­est, I don’t mind the morn­ing time with the kids, get­ting them up and or­gan­ised for school – I quite en­joy that. It’s the din­ner­time af­ter school, get­ting them bathed, off to bed, read­ing them a story, that’s the time of the day you want to be re­lax­ing your­self but you’re sort of work­ing over­time. How do you get to sleep af­ter all that? To­wards the end of my ca­reer when things weren’t go­ing as well as I would have liked, I was tak­ing a cou­ple of Swisse Ulti­boost tablets ev­ery night to get to sleep. You filmed the new cam­paign for Swisse in In­dia. What was the best part of the day? We took over a fish­ing vil­lage on the side of a river in Mum­bai. All the lo­cals joined in with the film­ing, help­ing out and be­ing ex­tras. They were lead­ing their nor­mal lives and there we were with a pro­duc­tion crew of about 100 peo­ple tak­ing over. Poverty is wide­spread in In­dia. Is it dif­fi­cult to re­turn from there to your com­fort­able life and Brighton man­sion in Melbourne? Well, no – I’m com­ing back to my fam­ily. I coach the Mum­bai In­di­ans for 10 weeks ev­ery year over there and it’s al­ways nice to come back home, but you cer­tainly have an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for how cer­tain parts of the world live. My wife and I have spo­ken a lot about this over the years; it would be great for ev­ery young

Aus­tralian to be able to make an overseas trip to places like In­dia and get an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for how good we have it in Aus­tralia, be­cause it definitely is an eye-opener. This month marks the sec­ond an­niver­sary of Phillip Hughes’s death. How will you re­mem­ber him? I shared some great mem­o­ries with Phil on and off the field. I was his first cap­tain when he played for Aus­tralia and we spent some in­cred­i­ble times bat­ting to­gether. It’s been a sad time with the in­quest, but I’ve got some great mem­o­ries of Phil. It’s so sad to think that a tragic ac­ci­dent cut short what could have been an amaz­ing in­ter­na­tional ca­reer. Have you read Michael Clarke’s au­to­bi­og­ra­phy? No, I haven’t read it, but I will. There’s no doubt my name will fea­ture in there a lit­tle bit – it prob­a­bly won’t be all pos­i­tive stuff, but I’ll have a look. It’ll be in­ter­est­ing to see what his rec­ol­lec­tions of sto­ries are com­pared to when I was play­ing. What did you think of Stel­lar’s re­cent cover with Shane Warne dressed up as a Ken doll? He was say­ing it was the first time in years that he’s fit into a pair of size 32 pants. One of the images where he’s stand­ing nice and tall – it didn’t even look like he could breathe. He was breath­ing in that hard, but too scared to breathe out. Noth­ing sur­prises me with Warnie… What’s the best sledge you’ve ever heard? Or dished out? Nah, I never used to say any­thing. I just re­tal­i­ated, never started any­thing. The best sledge I’ve ever heard was be­tween [Aus­tralia’s] Mark Waugh and an English bowler. Mark was out bat­ting and this par­tic­u­lar bowler wasn’t bowl­ing very well. It was his first game and Mark was say­ing how lucky he thought this guy was to have been play­ing for Eng­land; that he wasn’t good enough to be play­ing for Eng­land. And the guy said, “Well, hang on mate, I mightn’t be very good, but at least I’m the best player in my fam­ily.” There are a few signed cricket bats on ebay go­ing for more than $150. What’s the strangest thing you’ve been asked to au­to­graph for a fan? When I was do­ing book sign­ings a cou­ple of years ago, a lit­tle boy brought his bed­room door to the book­store. I don’t know how they did it, but they had a full-sized im­age of me hand­painted onto the door.

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