Ponting, 38, is a standout candidate to win the coveted interstate player of the season less than 48 hours ahead of playing a pivotal role in his home state Tasmania’s bid to win the Sheffield Shield in Hobart.
Tasmania has only won the Shield twice, since entering the interstate competition in 1977, in 2007 and again two years back.
Ponting heads contenders to win interstate cricket's top award for this season when it is announced and awarded in Hobart on Wednesday night.
He made a shock retirement from international cricket in late November just ahead of the Third Test against world champions South Africa in Perth.
The batting genius left the game’s highest level as Australia’s leading scorer with 13,378 runs at an average of 51.85 and returned to state ranks where he has plundered domestic bowling attacks for the rest of this summer.
As the national team screams out for new batting talent to emerge to offer frantically needed replenishment in the wake of Ponting’s departure, the Test great has climbed to the head of Australia’s domestic run-list.
Ponting has scored 875 runs from eight Shield matches ahead of the grand final on his home turf starting on Friday against reigning titleholders Queensland.
He scored three centuries, including an individual season-high unbeaten 200 against New South Wales at Hobart in early February, as well as four other tallies over 50.
Ponting should add the top domestic playing award to his wealth of achievements at international level including a euphoric 5-nil Ashes whitewash as Aussie captain in 2006-07, World Cup triumphs in 2003 and ’07 and 41 Test centuries in his glittering 168-game career.
The superstar batsman and decorated former Australian captain is likely to end his stunning playing days when Tasmania finish their home Shield final early next week, but as the nation’s top interstate player.
Votes for the top Shield player are cast on a 3-2-1 basis by each umpire at the end of matches.
Ponting should win the award ahead of a host of contenders on the back of highly consistent state seasons from Victoria and forgotten Test batting candidate Chris Rogers, new seam bowling star Chad Sayers from South Australia, fast emerging all-rounder James Faulkner or even another Tassie batting gun Alex Doolan.
Rogers, 35, finished second on the run-maker’s list with 742 and along with Ponting was the only other batsman to smack three tons in his 10 match season.
Sayers, 25, headed the wicket-taker’s tally with 48 in his first full season on the first-class scene with his probing right-arm swing and seam and he gathered his victims at an economic 18.52 with three five-wicket hauls.
Faulkner is an international star-in-waiting who turns 23 during Tassie’s quest to topple the Bulls in the five-day Shield decider.
The big left-arm seamer and attacking right-hand batsman grabbed 35 wickets at an average of only 20.94 as well as slamming 309 runs at 28 with two half-centuries.
Big Tasmanian seamer Luke Butterworth with 42 wickets at a tidy average of only 20 each should also poll well, but probably not enough to really press against Ponting’s highly likely win.