Ricky Ponting picks his Australian squad for upcoming Test series in India
What’s the story?
Former captain Ricky Ponting has come up with his squad for Australia’s upcoming 4-Test series in India. Interestingly, he has decided to include mercurial all-rounder Glenn Maxwell in addition to the uncapped Travis Head. An integral part of Channel Ten’s commentary panel for the ongoing KFC Big Bash League (BBL) season, the 42-year old unveiled his preferred 16-member squad during live coverage.
Ponting felt, “You'd think the Australian team would only play two specialist fast bowlers. I think Mitchell Marsh's bowling in India will be a lot more effective that (Hilton) Cartwright's.(Head, Maxwell and Ashton Agar) can all bat well, they can all bowl well. And I think at different times, we're going to need some batsmen in our side who can bowl quality spin. (Unleashing one of those three) would be conditions dependent, if it looked like it was going to be an absolute (turner).”
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The Australian selectors will meet on Sunday at 10 AM AEDT to select their squad for the India tour. While a majority of the team picks itself, there are quite a few slots up for grabs including support spinners and all-rounders.
The heart of the matter
Ponting also admitted to the difficulty of taking on India in India. He himself had a woeful time with the bat in India and could not manage a Test victory as skipper in India (Adam Gilchrist was skipper when Australia won in Bangalore and Nagpur during the 2004 series).
With the emergence of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, the task seems to have only gotten tougher. Australia suffered a 0-4 whitewash in their previous Test series on Indian soil. Considering the recent form of Virat Kohli’s team, the visitors could be truly up against it during this time as well.
The attacking right-hander believed, “It's actually got harder and harder in the last four or five years (to win in India) because I think they've started to produce more spinning wickets in India than even when we played. They used to turn on days three, four and five. Now they're turning from day one and that's why touring teams are finding it harder and harder to win there. The Indians thrive in those conditions (with) Ashwin and Jadeja. Jadeja is not a great spinner, but on those pitches he's near unplayable at times.”
Ricky Ponting’s Australia Squad: David Warner, Matthew Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith (captain), Peter Handscomb, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Starc, Steve O'Keefe, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Jackson Bird, Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head and Ashton Agar.
Ponting has been named as Australia’s assistant coach for the home 3-match T20I series against Sri Lanka. The last of those T20Is is scheduled to be held on the 22nd with the first Test in India beginning on the very next day.
As a result, he will have to settle for a second-string squad in the game’s shortest format.
Maxwell’s name has been floated among cricket circles with regards to the Test squad and he certainly stands a massive chance to board the plane to India. On commentary alongside Ponting, selector Mark Waugh publicly advocated for Marsh’s inclusion in the hope of slotting an extra spinner into the playing eleven.
Therefore, it should not come across as a surprise if Australia hone in on a battery of spinners (both specialists and all-rounders alike).