Ricky Ponting eyes batting shake-up for Australia against Pakistan
Only three batsmen of Australia will surely begin the summer Test Match series against Pakistan, according to former skipper Ricky Ponting, with David Warner among them. Ricky Ponting, who’s been a soundboard for coach Justin Langer in recent months, named Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne as the other two.
That leaves holes to fill, and Australia’s top runs scorer said he would like to see young prospect Will Pucovski, who has battled mental health issues, which will debut at the first Test at Gabba on November 12 2019.
“Warner is going to be a lock,” Ponting told cricket.com.au, even though the first game had a miserable Ashes tour where he has struggled to get into double digits. “I don’t care if he gets another duck in the second inning of this Test match (at the Oval), it will be a block for the Australian summer. Marnus is an absolute blockade. Smith is a blockade.”
There are still question marks around the boys in the middle, Matthew Wade and Travis Head and Harris have tested against good quality fast bowling in this series,” Ponting added.
Australia has cut and changed its top and middle-order against England, with Usman Khawaja and Cameron Bancroft among the abandoned after failing to shoot.
Their lack of form could open the door to Joe Burns and Kurtis Patterson, who was controversially excluded from the squad for England despite having done centuries in their last home test against Sri Lanka.
Batting fighter Alex Carey could also take a look, though Ponting said Tim Paine should continue as captain during the summer trials against Pakistan and New Zealand.
“With as many gaps as that, I’d like to see someone like Pucovski have a chance,” Ponting said. “Everyone has talked about him for a long time. A couple of years before the next Ashes series, you want to try and help someone in that No.6 role, and he’d be the obvious candidate.”
The 21-year-old smashed an excellent 243 for Victoria against Western Australia last season, which saw him parachute into the national set-up for two Trials against Sri Lanka.
He was ignored by the first in Brisbane and again missed selection for second in Canberra before being released to treat mental health issues. He had suffered similar problems in the past.