Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting feels pacer Mitchell Starc might not board the plane for South Africa unless he’s able to redeem the art of swing bowling in Test cricket again. Starc picked eight wickets in the first two Tests against India but wasn’t able to trouble the visitors’ batsmen in the last two games which eventually saw Australia losing at The Gabba to hand the visitors the series 2-1. Ponting said the ball does move around in South Africa and if Starc is able to reclaim the swing he will be more lethal in the series. But with no first-class cricket ahead of the South Africa tour, the former skipper feels Starc will have to impress the coaches at training.
“It all depends on what he does between now and then in the nets, it’s as simple as that. We’ve been talking about how he just didn’t swing the ball. He swung the ball beautifully in the first two Tests but didn’t swing it after that,” cricket.com.au quoted Ponting as saying.
“That must be a technique thing, whether he was a bit tired or fatigued. But if he can do something to prove to the coaches around the squad that he’s swinging that new ball… In South Africa the ball does move and we know how dangerous he is when the ball does swing,” he further said.
“But we also know that there might be someone better to play if he’s not swinging the ball. It’s up to him; if he can get some remedial work done to sort his technique out and he starts swinging the ball in the nets, I’d play him for sure,” Ponting explained.
Meanwhile, speedster Jhye Richardson has impressed in the ongoing Big Bash League (BBL). The pacer, who had recently returned from a shoulder operation, has picked 26 wickets in the showpiece event.
With Starc’s form coming under the scanner, Ponting feels Richardson might play against South Africa as he had shown signs of swing bowling on his Test debut in January 2019.
“He’s just a quality new-ball bowler. And if there are question marks around Starc and you need someone to swing that new ball, he fits that mould really well. We saw that on his (Test) debut — he can swing the ball,” said Ponting.
Earlier, Australia assistant coach Andrew McDonald said one team will travel to South Africa and the other team will go to New Zealand to play the five-match T20I series, starting from February 22.
“We are expecting the tour to go ahead and we are planning our preparations with our quicks. A team going for South Africa for the Test series and a team going to New Zealand – none of that changed at this stage,” McDonald had said in the virtual press-conference.
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