Australia batting great Ricky Ponting has suggested for all-rounder Cameron Green to be included in the playing eleven for a crucial clash against Afghanistan in place of pacer Pat Cummins.
With Australia needing a win by a big margin over Afghanistan at the Adelaide Oval on Friday to keep their semi-final hopes alive, especially of title defence, the firepower which Green brings with the bat will be needed more if Aaron Finch doesn’t recover enough to take the field.
“If Finch is fit, that’s where the big decision has to be made. At Adelaide Oval, do you leave a spinner out and play another all-rounder? Do you leave one of the frontline quicks out and use Green’s bowling to strengthen your batting?”
“Green’s bowling is comparable to most of those guys anyway and they might have the luxury of playing the extra batsman and maybe let Green go to the top and absolutely tee off, or they use him as a floater in the middle order somewhere,” said Ponting at the MCG on the sidelines of the tournament announcing the finals day celebration event.
“If they are thinking about a quick going out, and this is going to be a tough decision for the selectors, but if they are thinking about that, then maybe it is Cummins that goes out and Green comes in.”
“Whichever way they go they’re going to have to take a real risk and (throw) caution to the wind and try and win that game as quickly and as comfortably as they can. If they lose trying to win it well then that’s the way it is,” added Ponting.
Ponting, who won ODI World Cups for Australia as a captain in 2003 and 2007, feels that the plan to get Mitchell Starc as a first change bowler is working well, in a shift from the new ball duties carried out by the left-arm pacer.
“I think it’s been a really good ploy for Starc to not open the bowling, his record in the last 12 or 18 months with the new ball is less than flattering. What they’ve done with using him outside the first couple of overs and through the middle has actually worked a treat.”
Ponting signed off by saying if Australia don’t reach the semi-finals of the tournament at home, questions will be asked of Finch & Co over their performances in the showpiece event.
Following the completion of the Super 12 stage, the top two teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals. If Australia qualify, they will play in Semi-Final 1 in Sydney on November 9, while the second semi-final will be hosted in Adelaide on November 10.
“If they don’t make it through there’ll be some questions asked, I’m sure, because I had them in the top three coming here. No one gave Australia a chance in the last one over in the UAE, in conditions that didn’t suit.”
“But then we’re home in our home conditions that all of these guys have been brought up in and played a lot of cricket. There can’t be any excuse as far as preparation is concerned.”
In the finals day celebration on the finale of the tournament on November 13, Australian rock band ICEHOUSE will perform ‘Great Southern Land’ with First Nations musicians, Mitch Tambo and William Barton.
It will be followed by the second song of the evening, where Zimbabwean-born, ‘First Lady of Soul and R&B’ Thando Sikwila, and 13-year-old second generation Australian Indian, Janaki Easwar will also feature with ICEHOUSE in ‘We Can Get Together’.