Published: 30th July, 2013
Although he did not take the field at the Kia Oval on Friday night – the great Ricky Ponting still took the time to complete a fantastic sporting story.
Shortly before the game started, the Australian legend met English teenager Adam Owers, who is not just one of his biggest fans but one who had a fantastic story to conclude.
Four years ago, like many teenagers, Adam sat at home enthralled with the 2009 Ashes Series. However, unlike most Englishmen, his hero was not Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Swann or Andrew Strauss – he was a Ponting fan.
When England secured the urn at the Kia Oval, Adam was delighted for his country but disappointed that Ponting had once again failed in his ambition to captain his side to victory in England.
Adam decided his hero deserved further recognition and decided to write to the Queen asking for him to be formally honoured. When he received a letter back from a lady in waiting telling him that his letter had been forwarded to the Governor-General of Australia, it was assumed that would be the last he heard of it.
However, he then received another letter, attaching forms to be filled in to nominate Ponting for an award within the Order of Australia. Adam duly filled in the forms and, once again, thought that was the end of the story.
He thought it was. Two years passed with no word until – on January 12th 2012 – Adam received a short letter from Stephen Brady, the Official Secretary to the Governor-General and Secretary of the Order of Australia.
The letter informed him, in confidence, that – on 26th January, Australia Day – it would be announced that Adam’s nomination had been successful and Ricky Ponting would be made an Officer of the Order of Australia (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-26/australia-day-honours-2011/3792896), an honour he now shares with some of the greatest Australians of all time, including Bobby Simpson, Steve Waugh and Greg Norman
When it was announced that Ponting was joining Surrey for two months this summer, Adam’s father wrote to the club and asked if a meeting could be arranged. With such an amazing story behind it, bringing the two together was the least we could do.
Travelling up from his home in Arundel, Adam had no idea he was attending anything other than a standard night at the T20. It was only when they arrived at the ground that the secret was let out of the bag.
An excited Adam waited patiently for Ponting to complete his characteristically painstaking warm up and then, shortly after 6pm, the meeting happened. As ever, the great Australian was generous with both his time and his possessions, presenting Adam with a signed Surrey T20 shirt and thanking him warmly for the nomination.
Sadly for Adam, the groin strain Ponting suffered a week earlier intervened and he did not get to see his hero bat for the last time on English soil – but it was a still a day that he will never forget as long as he lives.
Pictured above – Adam Owers, Ricky Ponting, Bruno Owers (L-R)
Click below to see some of the highlights of Ricky Ponting’s brief Surrey career: