There are aspects of all our lives which we know we're good at. And there are things we think we're good at, but which, in fact, we can't do as well as we think we can. And, eventually, our capabilities are changed and diminished by the vagaries of time, age and misfortune.
Ricky Ponting knows he's a great batsman and has probably always fancied himself as a pretty good captain too. He would be unlikely to admit that it was his good fortune to find himself in charge of a team which, at its best, could make anyone associated with it look good. The innate psyche of a great sportsman will always be reluctant to admit to inadequacies and failures. You don't spend 152 Test matches breaking the best bowlers of your generation by having a clear sense of your own weaknesses.
Eventually, though, everyone has to confront their mortality. In Ponting's case, the runs have dried up, his team is a pale shadow of what it was and a permanent reputation as the man who lost three Ashes series is staring him in the face.
Bearing all that in mind, as well as the fact that he's got a long list of previous convictions, it's no wonder he gave Aleem Dar an extended piece of his mind earlier today. This is not to excuse it. He got off lightly, but this was a man simply raging against a dying of the light over which he has little control.
When Ponting turned his attention to Pietersen, the batsman's face signified a mixture of astonishment and humour, but no real concern. He knows that he will still be playing Test cricket long after Ponting has gone.
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