Ricky Ponting: My Inspiration. By Alan Tyers

Ricky Ponting reveals century inspiration: Justin’s dossiers, Hayden’s bushtucker sandwiches and a handmade card from Mitchell Johnson

It’s been a pretty ordinary time of it these last few months, waiting to get that century, but I knew I’d come good in the end because of all the support I’ve had from the blokes I played with over my career.

Little Alfie Langer has been a massive help, compiling a dossier on everyone I’ve been playing against, filled with his trademark specialist insights. When I was facing the Indian attack in this match I just thought back to the stuff Alfie had prepped for me (“Ishant is a tall guy, long hair. Might be a hippy? Look to get in his face or rough him up behind the pavilion… Ashwin: that’s a funny sort of hoity-toity name for a bloke. Might be a secret Pommie? Look to rough him up behind the pavilion or get in his face. Yadav: young fella, probably a bit of a whinger, look to rough up his face or get in his pavilion”) and I could feel my confidence soaring. If Alfie hadn’t accidentally run off 400 copies on the Cricket Australia photocopier and left them in the Indian dressing room, who knows, it might have been an even bigger help.

And Alfie wasn’t alone. Simon Katich also did his bit. I phoned him up on the morning before play and asked him if he had any tips. “Yeah, never turn your back on Michael Clarke,” said Katto. I told him that I didn’t want to get distracted by that sort of thing, so instead he told me about this positive visualization technique he uses where he imagines himself achieving his goals and the precise methods he uses to do it. Talking to Katto, these mainly seem to involve picturing himself throttling poor young Pup, but that’s the thing about a great motivational speech, different people take different things from it.

I put down the phone feeling pumped, and not even another text message from Steve Waugh inviting me on an inspirational trip to the Sydney War Memorial could drag me down. A shower, a quick bite to eat – Haydos had made me a special packed lunch of one of his Koala Parmigiana Heroes to keep my strength up – and after I’d finished puking that up in the dunny and wiped myself down with the hand-crayoned “Kard of suppawt 4 Mister Ricky” that young Mitchell had kindly sent, I was ready to face the best bowling attack that India has to offer.

As it turns out, the best bowling attack India has to offer is absolutely bloody hopeless and the rest, as they say, is history.

By Alan Tyers. More Aussie taunting in CrickiLeaks: The Secret Ashes Diaries, by Tyers and Beach, here www.crickileaks.co.uk

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