Saturday, June 25, 2022

Ponting names bowling trio as Australia’s World Cup hopefuls

Melbourne, Dec 29 (IANS) Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has named three bowlers – pace pair Jason Behrendorff and Gurinder Sandhu and spinner Aston Agar – as potential candidates for Australia’s 15-man 2015 ICC World Cup squad.

“Jason Behrendorff from the Perth Scorchers has been a standout for me so far in the Big Bash, and his domestic record is also good,” Ponting was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia (CA) website Sunday.

“And Gurinder Sandhu is the other one. I think he’s a terrific short form bowler. He bowls well at the death in T20 games which is probably an area that Australia haven’t really ever excelled in the limited-overs game.”

But Ponting admitted there are a number of fast bowlers ahead of them in World Cup queue.

“They’re a couple of guys I think that will definitely be smokies. If you look at Johnson and (Mitchell) Starc and (Pat) Cummins and (Josh) Hazlewood and these boys, they’re probably the boys who have their names up in front of the selectors first and foremost, as they should,” he said.

Ponting said Agar could provide Australia a dynamic spinning option.

“I would actually throw Ashton Agar’s name in there as a bit of a smokey. I haven’t talked much about this before but I was just looking and thinking about what they might do with a spinner for the World Cup, and we know that Agar’s a very handy lower batsman and a good fielder as well,” said the three-time World Cup winner.

“I think he’s someone who could slot into a World Cup one-day side really nicely.”

But he backed under-pressure batsman Glenn Maxwell saying he has the same raw ability and x-factor that could help Australia win the World Cup.

“I think expectation is the thing that’s weighing him down a little bit at the moment,” Ponting said of Maxwell’s poor form.

“As I try to say to him, that’s just down to the way he plays his cricket. He’s got so much talent, the ability to do some unbelievably freakish things. He’s got to find a way within himself to become a consistent cricketer for the Melbourne Stars and Victoria and hopefully for Australia.”

“The one thing we can’t forget with some of these guys that are relatively new to international cricket, they haven’t been in the spotlight for that long before and two, they haven’t played as much cricket back-to-back and consecutively as some of these guys are doing right now.”

The former skipper also likened Maxwell to former all-rounder Andrew Symonds saying both have similar mentality and quality as players.

“And someone like Glenn, he’s the sort of guy who needs some time away and needs to have other vices in his life, rather than just sitting back and thinking about cricket 24/7.”

“It’s a tough adjustment period for some of these guys but we hope he (Maxwell) can come through the other end of it and make sure he’s playing well leading into that World Cup, because he’s the sort of player, like we had with someone like Andrew Symonds in 2003, that could win a World Cup for Australia,” he concluded.

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