Ponting locks these three Aussie batsmen for Pakistan Tests
Legendary World Cup winning captain Ricky Ponting has zeroed down on three Australian batsmen for the Test series against Pakistan in November. Pakistan play against Australia in two Tests, starting November 21. Ponting has locked David Warner, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne as the three batsmen to feature against Pakistan. This is despite Warner's horrific run in Ashes 2019. Here's more.
Warner has scored just 84 runs across nine innings in the ongoing Ashes 2019. He is averaging 9.33 that includes three successive ducks. His scores in the series read 2, 8, 3, 5, 61, 0, 0, 0 and 5. Despite having the worst run in his Test career, Ponting has still put his trust on him and said he is an absolute lock.
"Warner's going to be a lock," Ponting told cricket.com.au. "I don't care if he gets another duck in the second innings of the Oval Test, he's going to be a lock for the Australian summer. Marnus is an absolute lock. Smith's a lock."
Steve Smith has been on a different plane altogether in Ashes 2019. He has already amassed 751 runs at an average of 125.16. Smith has scored these runs across six innings to show his mettle. Labuschagne, who had replaced a concussed Smith during the second innings at Lord's, has already scored 339 runs. He has smashed four fifties at an average of 56.50.
Australia haven't been consistent in the middle order in the whole of Ashes 2019. The likes of Travis Head, Matthew Wade and skipper Tim Paine have all struggled. "(There are) still question marks around the guys in the middle, (Matthew) Wade and (Travis) Head," Ponting claimed. Ponting has backed Will Pucovski to be given a chance in that middle order against Pakistan.
"With so many gaps like that, I'd like to see somebody like Pucovski get an opportunity," said Punter "Everyone's talked about him for a long time. A couple of years before the next Ashes series you want to try and blood someone in that No.6 role and he'd be the obvious candidate." Pucovski has been in the Aussie set-up earlier.
Besides the middle order, the opening department is also a concern. Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja and Marcus Harris have all struggled. The struggles of these players can open the doors for the likes of Joe Burns and Kurtis Patterson.