Ponting backs Rohit to get back in form for Mumbai Indians

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Ponting backs Rohit to get back in form for Mumbai Indians

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Amlan Majumdar

04/08/2016

Mumbai Indians' head coach Ricky Ponting is confident that Rohit Sharma, who has struggled for runs recently, will find his mojo in the IPL. He has also confirmed that their ace pacer Lasith Malinga will miss the first half of the tournament having struggled to regain his fitness in time.

"Rohit is one of the best players in the world. I think he's shown that over a long period of time. The one thing about our game is it's very hard to maintain exceptionally high standards all the time. There are going to be periods in your career when you have your ups and downs, but we all know how good a player Rohit is. He'll show that over the next few weeks.

"So, it's all nice and relaxed as far as I'm concerned. I know he's nice and relaxed about his game too going into the IPL. I know he's excited about the start of the IPL. I know he loves captaining MI. I'm sure you'll see him play exceptionally well over the next two months," Ponting told Cricbuzz.

Rohit Sharma has faced a lot of criticism for his dismal performances for the Indian team in the recently-concluded World T20. The Mumbai Indians skipper scored just 88 runs in five games in the tournament, however, he has expressed his desire to continue opening for his IPL team.

"I would like to open, at least in the initial games. We have got a great set of batsmen in our squad, so there is a bit of a headache about whom to pick in the XI. A lot depends on what sort of balance we need. As captain, it's my responsibility to field the right combination," Rohit said.

Meanwhile, Ponting has confirmed that they will be without the services of Malinga in the first half of this season. He said, "I believe he will be joining us after the first couple of games to have his fitness assessed. Right now it's unlikely he will take part in the first half of the tournament anyway.

"If we need a replacement, it will be have to be named ahead of the fifth game. At this stage you have to say it is unlikely (Malinga playing).

"Malinga at his best has been one of the great performers in world cricket, both with new and old ball. He will be missed, but we have to think about who the best replacement will be. Will it be Marchant de Lange, will it be Tim Southee? Will we go in with three overseas batsmen? So there are headaches we have, which is a nice thing. If Malinga is ruled out, we have more than adequate replacement to fill his boots".

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