Ability to play and use spin to define Australia’s success in the World Cup: Ponting
By Shruti - May 23, 2019 3:07 pm
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Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes that his home team is well equipped to win the title again. He further said that Australia’s success in the upcoming ICC World Cup will depend on the spin as they have the quality spinners like Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa whereas the batsmen are able to play spinners quite smoothly. Australia’s Head coach Justin Langer had said that the batsmen played spin better in their recently concluded series. Moreover, they have showcased a brilliant performance and bounced back immensely with a 3-2 win in the five-match ODI series against India.

Ricky Ponting

“The thing that will define Australia’s success in the World Cup is, one, how well they bowl spin and, two, how well they play it,” Ponting said to The Telegraph on Thursday (May 23). “That’s been their Achilles’ heel the last 12 or 18 months. With [Adam] Zampa bowling well now, Nathan Lyon’s obviously in the squad and Glenn Maxwell’s done a good job with the ball whenever he’s played,” he added.

“And I think some of our middle order are probably slightly better players of spin now than they were 12 or 18 months ago. With Warner there now and Steve Smith coming back in, the middle order looks a lot better against spin bowling than it probably was,” he expressed.

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However, former captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner have returned to the squad after a one-year ban for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal and they are back with a bang. Both of them had been in a formidable form in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) where Warner was the highest run-getter. Smith scored plenty of runs in their unofficial warm-up game against West Indies. Their inclusion has strengthened the squad as well.

Smith and Warner
Smith and Warner

“They’re both playing really well. Steve Smith still thinks he’s not probably 100% fit just yet – but he’s not far away. And Warner’s been the dominant batsman in the IPL,” Ponting said. “Those two coming in, obviously they’re class players – they’ll have their fair share of issues to deal with from the crowds and stuff when they get over there. But they’re big boys. They’ve been there and seen it all before. I’m sure they’ll be fine,” Ponting addded.

Aaron Finch, on the other hand, faced a lot of criticism for his rough patch earlier. However, the captain has bounced back pretty well during their series against India and Pakistan and his form will play an important role for his side.

“The fact that Aaron Finch has just had a bit of success lately as captain and had got himself back into the runs after a pretty lean 12 months with the bat, that’ll give him a lot of confidence going into this World Cup. To beat India in India for him as a captain is a big feather in his cap. They’ve got a really good chance – I’ve been saying that for 12 months. It looks like a lot of the work that Justin and the senior players have done around the group is starting to pay off,” he explained.

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However, Ponting, three-time World Cup-winner, twice as captain, has been appointed to work with the team prior to the World Cup in order to provide his knowledge and vast experience with the team.

Ricky Ponting

“I guess that’s probably one of the reasons they’ve got me involved – having been around some successful World Cup campaigns. Tournament play is a different thing, it’s not just another five-game series or three-game series. This is all about a pretty long tournament of one-day cricket,” said Ponting about the format. This edition will follow the 1992 format with a round-robin where all the teams will play each other prior to the semifinals.

“You’ve got to find a way to build your way into the tournament and make sure you’re playing your best cricket at the back alley. That’s one thing Australian teams have always done. They’ve tended to play their best cricket in the World Cups and when it has mattered in the big games,” the veteran said.

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“Australia’s got a very proud history. I know that’ll be something that will be spoken about within the group. But it’s also a chance for this current group of players to make a name for themselves on the world stage and a chance for them all to become World Cup winners as well,” former captain added.