Lack of finishers could be Australia’s Achilles’ heel: Ponting

(IANS) Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting feels that lack of finishers with the bat in Australia’s T20 World Cup squad could prove to be the weak link. He also said that all batsmen in the squad are top-order batsmen and bat at the same position for their Big Bash League clubs as well.

“All the batters in our T20 team bat one, two or three for their Big Bash teams and inevitably they become the leading runs scorers at the end of every Big Bash so they get picked for Australia. But [among those] who bat at five or six for their Big Bash team every game, who’s in the current Australian team? There’s no one,” said Ponting on ‘Breakfast with Gilly and Goss’ show at SEN Perth on Friday.

“If I think, of the best finishers I’ve seen — Kieron Pollard, M.S. Dhoni, Hardik Pandya — where have they batted their whole lives in the T20 game? In those slots, so that’s just their game. But we just don’t have many of those guys who are dominating the back of Big Bash games where you can say ‘right, you’re going to be listed to bat at number six today and if you get 15 balls we know you’ll get 30′. So, again, that will potentially be our Achilles’ heel,” added Ponting.

The 46-year-old also said that all-rounder Marcus Stoinis could be the man who could fill in the late-order hitters’ gap. Under Ponting’s coaching at Delhi Capitals in the IPL, Stoinis’s best in the lower order has been an unbeaten 53 off 26 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2020 IPL.

“The more I got to know him, he’s a very deep thinker and I was not wanting to feed him too much (information). I’d feed him little bits but then let him think about it and process it and come back to me and ask questions about what he needs to do next, or what he needs to do to get better,” said Ponting about his equation with Stoinis.

“With Australia he’s been in and out of the side, and not really found a spot in the batting line-up. I’ve tried to make it pretty clear to him where I see him slotting in with the Delhi Capitals outfit and the certain role he’s going to play for us.”

“He is a hard worker. He likes to bat and bowl as much as an anyone we’ve had at Delhi. So as long as I give some clear direction and he understands what he’s doing and what his role is, I just let him go about getting himself prepared. I’ll only interfere with players’ preparation if I think they’re bludging and they’re not doing the right thing. It’s fair to say he does enjoy working under the way that I coach,” concluded Ponting.

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