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World Cup 2011

Ponting wants wickets from spinners

Brydon Coverdale in Bangalore

March 14, 2011

Comments: 61 | Text size: A | A

Steven Smith bowls during Australia's training session, Colombo, March 4, 2011
Steven Smith has taken only one wicket in 24 overs so far in this World Cup © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Jason Krejza | Ricky Ponting | Steven Smith
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Teams: Australia

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.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 61 
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Posted by Dummy4 on (March 16, 2011, 5:35 GMT)

it's correct & drop white get d.hussey!!!!!!!

Posted by cool on (March 15, 2011, 16:40 GMT)



SEMIS- SL vs IND or NZ or Pak AUS vs SA

FINALS- All the fours teams have chances.Depends who ever plays their best cricket.

Best bowler of the tournment- No doubt will be Dale Steyn Best batsmen of the tournament- Some one from Ind or SA

Its all not about just talent.Its a mental game who ever plays SMART STREET CRICKET just the way SA and NZ are doing now ..will win the CUP.GL to all cricket lovers.And please don't get emotional.Its just a game we shall enjoy it.Even cricketers don't care that much that we care for our country to win.This WC is ours not those who are playing for.And some captains should think before they speak about crowds.More test cricket to come in years to see talents!!!!!CHEERS.

Posted by Lou on (March 15, 2011, 8:50 GMT)

Well, I'd like to see Punter scoring at a run a ball like he used to. I guess we'll both have to get used to being disappointed.

His spin bowlers aren't particularly accurate length or line wise and he sets very conservative fields for them. Steve Smith was barely asked to turn his arm over in the Ashes as Punter doesn't trust him so if he doesn't take wickets, it's not going to be a surprise.

Posted by Hector on (March 15, 2011, 8:15 GMT)

Well I told you so! I predicted Krezja in particular would be as useful as iron filings in a gear box and I was right. The only thing that hasn't happened is the grandstands at the various venues haven't been knocked down. They will be against the better teams. Clearly, Dave Hussey should play as our no. 1 spinner even though he lacks turn and penetration. At least he is a useful bat.....and we'll need this when chasing massive totals. The selection blunders won't really become apparent until too late. Cam White should be made bowl. He WAS a better spin bowler than what we are seeing now. Come on Cameron...get your act together...pick that ball up and bowl. And mean business.....stop letting others tell you what you can't do....just bowl aggressively as you did in the Under 19's and early days for Victoria! I think you have been attending too many yankee style performance appraisals put in place by our useless coaching panel who oversee multiple player run droughts.

Posted by Cameron on (March 15, 2011, 5:42 GMT)

David Hussey's spin is very underrated. If White fails again he should play and be bowling alot of overs. Or either replace Smith with him.

Why is Nannes being mentioned? He can't play unless someone else is injured and out of the tournament.

Posted by Adrian on (March 15, 2011, 3:56 GMT)

Stuff the spinners. Play Dirk Nannes as a 4th pace bowler with Watson as the 5th. Play to your strengths. Give Krezja a rest if he isn't performing.

Posted by Jacob on (March 15, 2011, 0:34 GMT)

I saw Shane Warne bowl at the Basin Reserve on Sunday, and whilst he wasn't trying very hard there was some loop, some turn, a skiddy quick ball, some attitude, all things missing from Australian's slow bowlers for... oh... lets see... maybe around 4 years?

Not too late! Although Benaud offers more with the bat, so perhaps Warne isn't the best idea...

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 14, 2011, 23:39 GMT)

To all you doomsayers, we are still undefeated since 1999. And the wicket against Sri Lanka was rolled dung, not mud. Give me a break!!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 14, 2011, 23:33 GMT)

Well It's not the spinning wickets Ponting needs, it's simply better spinners. Look around Ponting spinners on other teams even the associate teams are picking up wickets.

Posted by Martin on (March 14, 2011, 23:29 GMT)

Funny how Ponting wants more from his spinners - pity then that he hasn't picked any since last November. Shame too that he instructed curators in Australia to produce pitches there that didn't spin - eg Perth, (famously) Melbourne and LOL Sydney. This was why Hauritz wasn't picked for The Ashes. Ponting has always had it in for, and is ignorant of spinners. He just plain doesn't understand the whole role of the spin bowler in cricket, full stop - evidence - not picking a spinner at the Oval in 2009 (LOL). Warnes "problem" was that he was just too darned good to be dropped by Ponting. And boy did their egos clash as a result. With Warne gone Ponting has got a real nerve bleating for spinners to step up! Ponting has never picked, promoted or understood spinners. He's the one who picked a hand full of seamers - it's no good whingeing about spinners now.

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Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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