Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has referred to the ongoing Ashes 2023 as the “most tactical series” that he can remember owing to contrasting captaincy styles. He named Australia’s Pat Cummins as an old-fashioned Test captain, stating that England’s new Test captain Ben Stokes is someone who tries to make something happen almost every ball.
However, both Cummins and Stokes have earned praise as well as criticism for their tactics in Ashes 2023. While Cummins’ decision to underutilize off-spinner Todd Murphy in the final innings at Headingley raised questions, Stokes faced criticism for declaring England’s innings on Day 1 of the Edgbaston Test as well.
In the latest episode of the ICC Review Show, Ponting added: “I think this has been one of the most tactical series that I could remember, because of the two different styles of play, probably two contrasting styles of leadership as well,” Ponting said.
He contributed: “Pat (Cummins) is more of an old-fashioned sort of Test match captain where he sort of lets sets fields and lets plans sort of unravel and is happy to do it over a long period of time, whereas Stokes is a bit the other way. He’s sort of trying to make something happen every ball and therefore sometimes plans never really have a chance to eventuate.”
However, both Ben Stokes and Pat Cummins have played key roles for their team in Ashes 2023. While Stokes has scored 309 runs at an average of 51.50, Cummins has 15 wickets and has also chipped in with the bat as well.
“The only surprise that I had from the second innings of that game was that he (Cummins) probably didn’t use Murphy a little bit earlier, which would have given him a chance to get into the game. The longer he was held back, the harder it was going to be to introduce him into the game. So that would be the only question I would have had. But as I said, they had their rights and reasoning behind not bringing him into the game. Yes, there was some grass on that wicket at Headingley, but it was also really dry underneath. But come day four, it still wasn’t turning,” Ricky Ponting concluded.