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Net gains for Ponting courtesy former teammate Langer

Australia batting coach Justin Langer spent close to 40 minutes at the nets with former teammate Ricky Ponting here at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) indoor nets yesterday. Ponting, who has gone 30 Tests without a century, is under the pump from the Australian media. Yesterday, the word doing the rounds was that Ponting was about to enter his final Boxing Day Test.


Ricky Ponting

After the lengthy session in the indoor nets, Ponting stepped over to the outdoor nets where recuperating fast bowler Ryan Harris had a crack at him. A little later, Langer was greeted by good friend Rahul Dravid. The two shared Christmas greetings and a casual chat -- giving the lensmen a golden photo opportunity.


A bat with signatures of 12 Indian cricketers. Captain MS Dhoni's "Mahi"
autograph heads the list. Pic/Sai Mohan


Signature says it all
It's often said that a person's handwriting and signature is nothing but an output of the electrical impulses of the brain. Since it is an output, one can gauge the person's characteristics. In other words, a signature is a snapshot of one's personality. The cliche that Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a simple man can be further verified by his equally simple signature. There's nothing complex about it.
 
An autograph hunter was determined to get signatures of all Indian cricketers here yesterday. He almost succeeded. When Dhoni did the honours, this writer asked him if his signature reflected his personality. "I think it does, it's been the same since I was a teenager. It's funny you ask me that because I've never thought about it before," he said.  The extremely simple "Mahi" inscription when compared to the lot more complex signatures of Sachin Tendulkar and R Ashwin tell a lot about individuals. Similarly, Virender Sehwag's is another very simple signature.

Super net bowler
There was a teenage right-arm fast bowler from Cricket Victoria who gave Indian batsmen a tough test at the outdoor nets of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Saturday. He cleaned up MS Dhoni twice and VVS Laxman once in a session that lasted close to two hours.

Virat Kohli shook his head to acknowledge the net bowler's efforts. In fact, he even lost his cool once when a fan started laughing from the top (the nets are situated in the basement) after he was beaten by the impressive quickie.

It was a shame that Australia's chief selector John Inverarity and coach Mickey Arthur weren't around to watch him. With the places of Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle questioned by the local media, Mitchell Johnson and Pat Cummins injured, the hosts could do with a raw talent - albeit someone who hasn't played first-class or List A cricket.

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