Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting is unhappy with his country’s comprehensive 0-3 whitewash by Sri Lanka in the recently-concluded Test series in the Emerald Isle and said on Tuesday he was particularly disappointed that it came against an inexperienced home side.
“I was disappointed with the result. I think the most disappointing thing for me was the fact that it was a very young, inexperienced Sri Lankan team as well and they were able to beat the Australian team very comfortably,” Ponting told reporters in Mumbai on the sidelines of the launch of the BSchool Flagship five-day Residential Executive Leadership Programme in Tasmania in 2017.
“The conditions were very challenging, but as Australian players now you know that those are the sort of conditions you are going to confront when you go anywhere in the sub-continent. I was really happy and pleased to see them bounce back in the one-dayers the way they did,” said the two-time World Cup winning captain.
Australia were thrashed by 106 runs at Pallekele in the series opener and slumped to bigger defeats – by 229 and 163 runs in the second and third Tests at Galle and Colombo, unable to counter the guiles of left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who grabbed 28 wickets at a measly 12 runs per victim.
Ponting said the Aussies have a lot of work to do if they aimed to do well against India when they tour this country in the New Year. Australia were thrashed 0-4 on the last trip in 2012-2013.
“They play India in India pretty soon as well. So if that group of players think they can compete here (India) then they have a lot of work to do, both technically and the way they approach those conditions,” he remarked.
“It is always going to be the biggest hurdle for the Australian players to play the spinning conditions well and it is probably something that we never mastered. We might have never mastered those conditions, but, say around 7 to 10 years ago, we managed to be ultra competitive,” Ponting said.
“I still believe this current group of Australian players are good enough to win in the sub-continent. They just have to tweak their game a little bit, maybe think about their approach a little bit differently and I am sure they can win here,” he added.
The former Australia skipper felt that India’s Test captain Virat Kohli led the team in the same manner in which he batted, aggressively.
“I can see the way that he plays, it comes through a little bit through in the way he captains the side. He is very aggressive, wears his heart on his sleeve and is animated. That’s the way he bats and that’s the way he captains because that’s his personality,” Ponting said.
Ponting, who has been the head coach of Mumbai Indians in IPL for the past two seasons, said he could not single out the reason for Rohit Sharma’s modest show at the Test level as compared to his outstanding ODI figures.
Rohit, the only batsman in the history of the game to hit two double centuries in ODIs including a world record high 264 — averages 42 in the 50-over format and 32 in Tests.
“I have seen Rohit up very close. I have worked exceptionally hard on his batting and his leadership around the team. He is one of the nicest people that I have met in the game and is one of the most talented people I have seen in the game. (But) I still haven’t been able to put a finger as to why he hasn’t been able to really dominate red ball cricket like he has with the white ball,” Ponting said.
Ponting, who scored 13,378 runs with 41 hundreds in 168 Tests averaging over 51, sounded optimistic that Rohit can improve his Test record.
“I know he is a determined young man and he works hard at his game and if he keeps working as hard as he does with the talent that he has, then I think he can actually become a very good Test player for India,” said the Tasmanian. (Courtesy PTI)