Rajasthan Royals v Mumbai Indians, IPL 2013, Jaipur April 18, 2013

Openers haven't done the job - Ponting

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ricky Ponting has said his and Sachin Tendulkar's low returns for Mumbai Indians have affected the team's batting in the tournament. The openers have put together two half-century stands, but thrice the team has lost its first wicket in the first over. Ponting has scored 52 runs in five innings and Tendulkar 69. Asked about Tendulkar's batting form, Ponting said it has been "no different than mine".

Mumbai Indians made another false start against Rajasthan Royals in a chase of 180 as the openers were out early - Tendulkar in the first over and Ponting in the third - to offspinner Ajit Chandila.

"The two guys at the top of the order haven't done the job required off them by the team," Ponting said. "We are five games into the tournament; both of us need to play better. If we want to continue winning games and if we want to be the team at the end of it that holds the trophy up, then you need everyone in the team performing more often than not. Neither of us has played as well as we would have liked. I'd expect a lot from myself from the first few games compared to what I have delivered."

Royals, led by an unbeaten half-century by Ajinkya Rahane, put up a challenging total, but Mumbai Indians' innings fizzled early as Royals took the pace off the ball with the use of spinners and medium-pacers. At 61 for 5 in the 13th over, they had lost all their in-form batsmen. Ponting, however, didn't blame the pitch.

"The wicket was good, as you can see by the first innings of the game," he said. "It is fair to say that the wicket did a little bit in the second innings, but it always looks that way when the batting is under pressure. So we can't blame the conditions."

Ponting also added that the team could make some changes now. "We will think about mixing and matching, reorder a bit. I talked to the coaches before this game about making sure our guys in the middle order get a fair bit of batting early in the tournament, because guys like Rayudu haven't had much of batting yet."

Royals' offspinner Chandila, who took a hat-trick last season, opened the bowling and was instrumental in putting early pressure with the wickets of Tendulkar and Ponting. He said the wickets were like a "dream come to true" for him.

"Taking the wickets of two legends of the game is like a double hat-trick for me, " Chandila told IPLT20.com. "I still cannot believe this has happened, I feel I am in some sort of dream. I just cannot express how I feel. My hands and feet are cold at the moment. As a bowler, I cannot ask for anything more.

"Rahul Dravid sir is like God for me. He just placed his hands on my head before the first over and said, 'Ajit, you will bowl well. Just be confident when you are bowling and the rest will take care of itself.' Those words were in my head as I went to bowl."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mansoor on April 22, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    having a skipper who doesnt deserve to b in the eleven! what else will u say? With all the due respect for Pondulkar pair, the fact is, u cant remain young forever. its because of them that a player like Pollard gets balls to play in single digit!!!

  • raj on April 20, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    For my money, MI is still most likely to win the IPL. Tendulkar looks likely to score runs - he has been run-out cheaply in two of his innings. Both SRT and Ponting will come good at business end.

  • Dummy4 on April 19, 2013, 12:24 GMT

    The problem with MI remains that Tendulkar is the shadow captain, his influence still permeates the decision making process. The good thing is that Ricky Ponting will bring a no-nonsense and result oriented approach to the team. However its quite clear that Tendulkar's time is up and so is Ponting's...they both seem to have lost the ability to strike the ball hard and seem to be just forcing it.Although MI may bounce back in the next game they still look strategically weak in crunch games.

  • Dileep on April 19, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    Well no point in simply saying like take Maxwell instead of ponting himself, drop tendulkar down the order etc. These doesnt make sense. Ponting is a class player and is expected to deliver any time.Ponting by now got more exposed to conditions, understood mistakes and next couple of matches he should be playing and hope he rectifies his mistakes and try score bit fast. This is important because otherwise it puts pressure on Sachin to score in such a fast pace which is not comfortable with Sachin. Last IPLs at times Dwayne Smith provided fireworks up the order. Sachin should never be dropped down the order because he has been playing the shorter format of the game for 2 decades in opening slot and he is best there. The Team line up can be Sachin Smith/Hughes/Bllizard(Smith prefered because he is confident in Spin and have IPL opening experience) Ponting Karthick Rohit Pollard Rayudu Harbajan Ojha Munaf/kulkarani Malinga

  • Mayur on April 19, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    Sachin T - Bat D.Smith - Bowl / Bat D.Karthik - Bat Rohit S - Bat G.Maxwell - Bowl / Bat A. Rayudu - Bat K.Pollard - Bowl / Bat Suryakumar Yadav - Bat Johnson / Malinga - Bowl Harbhajan - Bowl Munaf P / R.Dhawan - Bowl

    Team shuld be like dis fr nxt match......

  • JaladiJinka on April 19, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    Hi Ricky, Please change the opening partner to Sachin by Smith.

  • Dummy4 on April 19, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    From the last few games, it is well known that Ponting can not perform as a opener at this age. So Dwayne Smith has to replace Ponting. Smith is a great all-rounder too.

  • Ajeesh on April 18, 2013, 20:49 GMT

    well can u make anil kumble play for MI ????? Kumble/Harbhajan both shud be playin with Rayadu/Sachin Opening followed by Dinesh Karthik then Ponting Pollard Rohit Sharma

  • Dummy4 on April 18, 2013, 19:55 GMT

    M I need to open the innings with Dwayne Smith and Tendulkar . It look like M I technical staff didn't watch the I P l last season .