Ricky Ponting feels that playing the second half of the IPL in the UAE will be the ideal preparation for Australian players ahead of the T20 World Cup. While the IPL 2021 final will be played on October 15, the T20 World Cup will begin almost immediately, on October 17 in the UAE and Oman.
Ponting himself is the head coach of the IPL franchise Delhi Capitals. He opined that the T20 league can help Australian players who skipped tours of West Indies and Bangladesh get back in the groove for the T20 World Cup
Pat Cummins, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson and Daniel Sams had pulled out of the two tours, and haven’t played since the IPL was suspended in May. In the absence of their key players, Australia were trounced 1-4 the in the T20Is by West Indies and Bangladesh.
According to a report on cricket.com.au, Ponting told Australian Test captain Tim Paine in a conversation on SEN radio:
“Those guys that haven’t played for three or four months now, they need to get back into the groove of playing high-quality cricket against the best players in the world. No doubt it’s their best preparation (for the T20 World Cup) to be in those exact conditions, playing in probably the strongest domestic T20 tournament in the world.”
The former Australian skipper added:
“All the best players in the world will be there … and I’m not just saying it because I want some of the Australian players there at the Delhi Capitals.”
Australia’s proposed T20 tri-series with Afghanistan and West Indies is now unlikely to go ahead. As a result, the Aussie players will be heavily dependent on the IPL to gain some confidence and form ahead of the T20 World Cup.
Australia can still push really hard to win the T20 World Cup: Ponting
Despite Australia missing their key players, no one expected them to capitulate in the manner they did in recent matches. The low point being rolled over for a paltry 62 against Bangladesh, their worst T20I total.
Analysing Australia’s woes, Ponting admitted players’ lack of skills under the conditions came to the fore again. He reckoned:
“There’s no doubt those conditions were really, really difficult (but) they were there for long enough, they would have done some training on wickets similar to what they played on. But the further the series went, whether it was a lack of confidence or a lack of skill or a lack of game awareness in the conditions…”
“Just the lack of know-how and skill in those conditions brought us undone again. It’s been the Achilles heel for Australian cricket for as long as I can remember. It just goes to show the depth around Australian cricket right now is not where it needs to be. There’s work to do there. The T20 World Cup is not far away (but) with everyone fit and healthy in the UAE, I still think the Australian team can push really hard to win that title that’s eluded us.”
Australia’s limited-overs captain Aaron Finch recently underwent surgery on his right knee to repair cartilage damage he suffered in the West Indies. With a 10-week recovery period, Finch is expected to be fit for Australia’s opening match in the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup.
The 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup will be played in the UAE and Oman from October 17 to November 14.