Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s ability to ‘finish’ games has won recognition from none other than Australian great Ricky Ponting, who thinks the Australia national team needs someone like Mahi or Hardik Pandya for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
On the importance of having a reliable middle or lower-order batsman-keeper, Ponting said it is a great advantage. “A batsman who can keep wickets could kill two birds with one stone,” the former Australia captain told cricket.com.au.
“The role of the finisher has always been a cause of concern for Australia. For this, a specialist is needed who can play three or four overs and can also score 50 runs. Dhoni has done this work throughout his career and he is excellent at it. Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard also fall in this category who can win matches for the country and for the IPL team. They are used to playing at this place,” Ponting said in the interview.
Why Aussies lack a finisher?
Ponting said the best batsmen of Australia bat in top four in the country’s Big Bash League (BBL). “So you’ve actually got no one that’s consistently batting in the middle or lower order. That’s what we’ve got to find. The question is will the BBL teams allow their top batsmen to play down the order?” said the 46-year-old batsman, who is the coach of IPL team Delhi Capitals.
Pointing said Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh or Marcus Stoinis can play the role of a finisher for Australia in the upcoming T20 World Cup which is scheduled to happen in India in October-November.
Stoinis, who plays for Delhi Capitals, has found Ponting’s favour. “I saw Stoinis batting for Delhi last year. He opened the innings in a few matches of the Big Bash League and did well for Melbourne Stars, but I want a batsman who can play the role of a finisher and he has won two or three matches for Delhi Capitals with his bat,” said Ponting, who is currently in quarantine in a Sydney hotel after returning from the suspended IPL.
Search for a wicketkeeper
The 46-year-old legendary batsman said that Australia desperately need a wicketkeeper for the T20 World Cup. “The keeper-batsman is probably the slot they’d be losing the most sleep over right now…’who is going to be standing behind the stumps with the gloves on’?
He said that uncapped Josh Inglis “could be in the mix, despite missing out on preliminary squad for the upcoming tours of the Caribbean and Bangladesh”. “I really liked what I saw from him batting in the middle order in last summer’s BBL,” Ponting said.
Ponting said Inglis is a good batsman against spin and said he could come in handy since the world cup will be played in India or the UAE, where spin dominates over swing.
Ponting is a member of Australia’s T20 coaching staff and was an assistant for the ODI World Cup in 2019.