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IPL 2017: Ricky Ponting picks his best players of the tournament

Legendary Australian captain also reveals the biggest surprise of the season.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and David Warner
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and David Warner hold the Purple Cap and Orange Cup respectively

What’s the story?

Legendary Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has selected his best players of the 2017 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). While he chose David Warner and Bhuvneshwar Kumar as the best batsman and bowler respectively, the 42-year-old opted for as many as five names in the fielding department. 

“Being back as the captain of a team that won it the year before, I know he (Warner) likes that extra responsibility as well and whenever he’s been captain or had that extra responsibility, he’s played well. The thing about Davey now as well is he’s very consistent in this form of the game which is not an easy thing to do,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.

The veteran added, “I actually think (Bhuvneshwar) has (been the best bowler) because of what he’s been able to do with the new ball. The opening bowlers in T20 cricket bowl all the difficult overs as well. They bowl two or three in the Power Play and then someone like Kumar comes back and bowls one or two at the death as well. That gives them the chance to take a lot of wickets but his economy rate has been pretty good as well. So he probably has been the standout bowler.”

The Context

With 641 runs from 14 matches at an average of 58.27 and strike-rate of 141.81 including five fifty-plus scores, Warner is the season’s leading run-scorer by a fair distance. On the other hand, Bhuvneshwar holds the Purple Cap by virtue of his 26 wickets at an average of 14.19 and economy-rate of 7.05.

The heart of the matter

Even as the selections for the best batsman and bowler were pretty straightforward, Ponting was left impressed by the fielding efforts of quite a few players. He chose Kieron Pollard as his top fielder but also mentioned the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Ravindra Jadeja, Warner and Hardik Pandya. 

For the biggest surprise of this edition, Ponting shed light into Delhi Daredevils' failure to make it to the playoffs. Despite possessing the crème de la crème of India’s young batsmen as well as some feared fast bowlers, they had to be content with the sixth position in the league table. 

What’s next?

Considering the dominance of Warner and Bhuvneshwar, it appears as if they will end the season as the most prolific batsman and bowler respectively. The title clash will be played on the 21st at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.

Author’s Take

Ponting has endorsed the remarkable consistency of Sunrisers Hyderabad’s star duo. His assessment on the Daredevils’ indifferent season was also spot on as they seemed to have a strong squad for the tournament.

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