Australian legend Ricky Ponting was all praise for Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane, particularly the manner in which the latter trapped Aussie batsmen using smart fielding tactics on Day 1 of the Boxing Day Test.
Ajinkya Rahane, who is leading India in the absence of Virat Kohli, employed a leg-slip for both seam and spin bowlers.
The move worked wonders, as Steve Smith and skipper Tim Paine both fell strangled down the leg side off Ravichandran Ashwin. Marnus Labuschagne was brilliantly caught by debutant Shubman Gill at backward square-leg to give the other debutant Mohammed Siraj his first Test wicket.
Reviewing Ajinkya Rahane’s tactics, Ponting told cricket.com.au:
"The amount of catches you see now off the fast bowlers at leg gully is astounding. The last three or four years, whether it's in Australia or (wherever) it is, we've had a lot of our players caught there and even thinking back two years ago to the MCG, Pat Cummins got a few of the Indian guys caught in the leg gully area as well.”
According to the former Australian captain, it's becoming more of a tactic in the game. Ponting explained that when a fast bowler pushes a delivery down the leg side, the right-handers have a tendency to fall over a little bit. Ponting further elaborated in this regard:
“If you're falling to the off-side to try and keep the ball down on the leg-side, it becomes that little bit more difficult. As this game goes on, I reckon we'll see even the Australians have a leg-gully in there for a lot of the time, particularly against the right-handers."
“There has been a lot of planning, and Ajinkya Rahane should take credit for that,” says Ricky Ponting
Apart from the field positioning, Ricky Ponting was also impressed by Ajinkya Rahane’s proactive bowling changes and the way he handled his resources. Ponting said in praise of Ajinkya Rahane:
"(Rahane's captaincy) has been brilliant so far. We were all a bit worried about how they were going to pick themselves up after Adelaide. I think they looked potentially better today. Rahane's field placements, bowling changes have all been pretty much spot on. With captaincy, making bowling changes and changing the field, you need guys to be able to execute well."
Ponting further said in this regard:
"I think there's been a lot of planning that's gone into it, and Rahane should take a lot of credit for that. We had him in Delhi this year (in the IPL). He's a very smart cricketer; he's a terrific bloke ansd works exceptionally hard on his own game.”
India held the upper hand at stumps on Day 1 in Melbourne. After rolling over Australia for 195, they reached 36 for 1 in 11 overs.Published 26 Dec 2020, 16:12 IST