The Forty Funniest Cricketers of All Time – Number Forty, Gary Pratt

at 2016.06.10
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40. Gary Pratt

Ricky Ponting is not a funny man. Yes, for a couple of years he tried to convince other cricketing nations to forget about replays and just take the Australians’ word on low catches, which is perhaps one of the most understated and subtle comedy bits ever perpetrated by an Australian cricket captain.

Certainly a lot subtler than Allan Border’s ‘Pull My Finger’ routine.

AB's jokes tended to escalate into grumpiness with surprising speed

AB’s jokes tended to escalate into grumpiness with surprising speed

But apart from that, Ricky Ponting wasn’t much of a comedian on the cricket field.

Until the day he found the Pete to his Dud, the Hamish to his Andy, the Dubya to his Cheney. Trying to save the Fourth Test of the 2005 Ashes, after following on for the first time in 117 years, substitute fielder Gary Pratt ran out Ponting, inspiring a hilarious tirade from the Australian skipper.

Everything about Ponting’s response to his dismissal is hilarious. Since 1989, the Australians had held the Ashes by being better than England in every non-comic facet of the game – batting, bowling, captaining, sledging, keeping, not sending the opposition in to bat at the Gabba, catching, fielding, everything.

Leading the fielding excellence in that era had been Ricky Ponting, who, along with Mark ‘Junior Mint’ Waugh, was among the best fielding fielders Australia had ever fielded on the field.

And here Ponting was, being run out by the exact same kind of outstanding fielding that he’d inflicted on everybody else for so long. By some clown who wasn’t even a Test cricketer. Who was on the ground, substituting for an English bowler, as England had shamelessly done all series. And this substitute fielding clown was named ‘Pratt’, which was surely now just taking the piss.

It would be enough to make anybody storm up the Trent Bridge pavilion hurling foul-mouthed accusations of cheating at Duncan Fletcher. Or, if not anybody, certainly Ricky Ponting.

And the perfect capper to the moment was the fact that Pratt had every right to be on the field on this occasion, because he was substituting for Simon Jones, who was sufficiently badly injured that he would never play for England again.

Here’s a video. (Trigger warning: Contains Shane Warne.)

Cringe comedy at its finest.

Gary Pratt is not a Test cricketer (yet!). But he’s the fortieth funniest cricketer of all time, because he brought out the best in Ricky Ponting, just like Swisse vitamins.

Here’s the Master List of the Forty Funniest Cricketers of All Time.

The Forty Funniest Cricketers of All Time
The Forty Funniest Cricketers of All Time – Number Thirty-Nine, Vinoo Mankad

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