After Australia's poor T20I results during the recent tours of West Indies and Bangladesh, Ricky Ponting stated that the lack of ability and skills in overseas conditions has come to the forefront yet again. Australia went down in each of the two five-match series by four games to one.
While Ricky Ponting, one of game's finest captains. acknowledged the difficult conditions, he was concerned that the performances worsened as the matches went on. Australia's highest team total across five matches in Bangladesh read 121/7, and a 62 all-out effort in the last of those only added to the worries. Mitchell Marsh was the lone bright spot, having aggregated 375 runs across both the T20 series, while also bagging eight scalps across five T20Is in the West Indies.
Ponting stated that the team is capable of winning the upcoming T20 World Cup in the UAE, provided they can get their strongest players in prime form and health.
"The lack of knowhow and skill in those conditions brought us undone again," Ponting told Tim Paine on the Test captain's SEN radio show. "It's been the Achilles heel for Australian cricket for as long as I can remember - more so in Test cricket, but we've always found a way to be very competitive in Sri Lanka and India in white-ball cricket. Just goes to show the depth around Australia cricket is not where it needs to be so there's some work to do there.
The T20 World Cup is not far away so hopefully we get all the boys fit and healthy, because I still think with everyone fit and healthy in the UAE that the Australian team can push really hard to win the title. Let's keep our fingers crossed we can put our strongest XI on the field.”
Australia were without the services of their key senior members including regular skipper Aaron Finch, David Warner, Steven Smith, Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell. A relatively younger squad unsurprisingly found it difficult to get the best of results in tough conditions.
"There were a lot of names not there…but it almost seemed they got worse during that series," Ponting said. "There's no doubt those conditions were really difficult, but that's the worry for me. They've been there long enough and done some training on wickets you'd have thought were quite similar to what they played on yet the further the series went, whether a lack of confidence or skill or game awareness, I'm sure they would have been shattered."
The IPL, which will also be hosted by the UAE and precedes the T20 World Cup, presents a great chance for the team to get enough practice and adapt to the conditions. Pat Cummins is not expected to play the IPL due to the birth of his child. Ponting, the head coach of Delhi Capitals, further said that he is waiting on confirmation on whether Stoinis and Steven Smith would play this year as the latter is returning from an elbow injury.
"There's no doubt it's their best preparation, in those exact conditions playing probably the strongest domestic T20 tournament in the world," he said. "I'm not saying it just because I want some of the Australian players there with Delhi, but it sounds like our domestic season will be pushed back so there'll be no domestic cricket here before the T20 World Cup, so preparation wise it's spot on.
Not sure if they'll be any restrictions on the bowlers going there, there may well be, but certainly the guys like Smith, Davey, Maxi, Stoinis who have been out of cricket for three or four months they need to get back into the groove.’’