ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
World Cup 2011
Ponting wants wickets from spinners
March 14, 2011
Ricky Ponting wants more from his spinners after they again failed to take a wicket during the 60-run win over Kenya in Bangalore on Sunday. Jason Krejza has not taken a wicket since Australia's first match of the World Cup, against Zimbabwe, while Steven Smith has managed only one for the tournament, on pitches that have generally provided some turn.
Coming in to their title defence, Australia knew their pace attack was their strength, and were relying on Shaun Tait, Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson to do the bulk of the damage. But after three victories and a washout, the pace bowlers have combined for 21 wickets at an average of 21.76, while Australia's slow bowlers have only four wickets at 74.75.
Against Kenya, Krejza and Smith were easily chipped around for runs during the middle overs, and it was a familiar trend after Sri Lanka and New Zealand also had little trouble handling the spin. That could become an issue in the knockout stages of the tournament, especially if the Australians find themselves up against quality handlers of spin, like India.
"I still would have liked to see them making some breakthroughs for us," Ponting said of the slow bowlers after the Kenya game. "Through those middle overs in this tournament when the ball gets old, and the wicket starts to spin, we are going to need our spinners to strike for us, and that didn't happen."
However, Ponting was keen to point out that there was a certain amount of experimentation in his use of the slow men in a match that Australia were never in real danger of losing. Krejza bowled mostly around the wicket, Michael Clarke had a trundle for the first time in the tournament, and Smith was brought in to the attack much earlier than usual.
"I tried a few different things with the spinners," Ponting said. "Bowling Smith early in the Powerplays was just to give him some experience there and see how he would cope with the situation. It's probably the first time he's done that, so that should be good for him.
"Jason tried a couple of different things tonight, bowled the majority around the wicket on a wicket that was spinning, just to get a bit of a feel for the conditions and what he can do in these conditions. There was a bit of experimentation from the spinners."
Australia entered the World Cup without their two preferred limited-overs spinners, with Nathan Hauritz ruled out due to a shoulder injury and Xavier Doherty suffering back soreness. The New South Wales left-armer Steve O'Keefe, who was in the 30-man preliminary squad, was also unavailable due to a calf problem.
Australia qualified for the quarter-finals with their win over Kenya, but they haven't faced a serious challenge yet after the match against Sri Lanka was rained out. Their final two matches of the group stage are against Canada in Bangalore on Wednesday and against Pakistan in Colombo on Saturday.
Almost two-thirds of Dhoni's 9000 ODI runs have come as captain and all of them with the extra responsibility of keeping
Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni dominate the stats highlights from the Mohali ODI
India's limited-overs captain has wanted to bat up 'for a long time'; when he got the chance in Mohali, he played the big shots unhindered by the pressures of finishing a chase
Recent middle-order mainstays make it to Pakistan's all-time XI selected on the occasion of the country's 400th Test
A thoughtless remark nearly derailed the South African batsman's career before it began. And then he got five ducks
Australia's clash of Twenty20 and Test fixtures, with players forced to choose between them, will come to be seen as a tipping point for the international game
What we needed from the Phillip Hughes inquest was a serious discussion on how to make our game, where 90mph bowlers are now the norm, safer
Higher frame rates for cameras and a safeguard to prevent operator error were the key improvements in technology that led to the BCCI agreeing to trial the system