MI v CSK, IPL final 2015, Kolkata May 23, 2015

'No worries' about taking on CSK - Ponting

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Ponting: Rohit could captain at a higher level some day

Ricky Ponting, the Mumbai Indians coach, said the team has "no worries" about taking on Chennai Super Kings in the IPL final on Sunday at Eden Gardens. Speaking exclusively to ESPNcricinfo, Ponting also expected things "not to change much" from when they beat Super Kings in the first qualifier at Wankhede.

The Mumbai players were given a couple of days off after their win on Tuesday and the team held its first training session ahead of the final only on Friday.

"There is only a certain amount you can train when you are two months into a T20 tournament," Ponting said. "It is more about tactics and mindset rather than the skills. We are playing Chennai and we played them in the last game. So, things won't change too much. It is a matter of execution now."

Ponting, who took over as coach at the start of the season, said he faced no problems asserting himself in the role despite the presence of a large support staff. Among those in the Mumbai camp are team icon Sachin Tendulkar and chief mentor Anil Kumble, who Ponting said were "not a constant around the team."

"It is hard to define their (Tendulkar & Kumble) roles. They are mentors and help out the guys if required," he said. "Sachin has been to a few of our team meetings and so has Anil but they have not been a constant around the team. We want to make sure that there are not too many voices going around and one message is passed to the team and individual players. It is important that the younger guys do not have too many messages going into their minds."

Ponting credited Tendulkar and Kumble for knowing when to "step back" and "waiting to be spoken to rather than trying to impose themselves on the group." Now with just one winner-take all game to play, the former Australian captain is hoping to pass on the knowledge he has acquired on how to put your best foot forward in big finals.

"Having been there and done that along with some individual success as well, I think I have good little points that I can pass on to the team," he said. "The players have a good idea already as I have said a lot of things along the way about facing challenges and playing in big games. You prefer to have players in your team that have done that before as that experience is undeniable and we have got some of those players."

"You can't go from being a high level of competitor to nothing and you need to have something in your life. Coaching in a tournament like this gets the competitive juices flowing again"

Having stood down in favour of Rohit Sharma as captain of the franchise in their run to the title in 2013 and having worked in close proximity with him this season, Ponting is convinced India can invest in Rohit as part of their leadership group.

"You can see the growth in Rohit, especially in the second half of this tournament, where he has had to make crucial decisions with the bowling changes and the strike bowlers," he said. "He has done well under pressure. He has played at different positions for the team, be it opening the batting or batting at number three and four. He has not had the smoothest of years, but you would not know because he is quiet. He has the steely determination to be the best that he can be. If he continues to grow and keeps learning the way he is, I have no doubt that he can captain at a higher level."

Among the potential challenges Ponting faced as coach was his relationship with Harbhajan Singh. The pair were involved in several high-profile skirmishes over their international careers, and Ponting admitted there was "animosity" between the two when he first joined the franchise in 2013. However, he insisted those issues were put to bed very early and now there was a "healthy respect" between them.

"It was up to both of us to stand up as men and break down that barrier. We wanted the best for the team and we did that," he said. "I think I was the first one to congratulate him on his selection to the Indian Test squad for Bangladesh."

Having tasted success as coach in his first stint itself, Ponting said you can "never say never" to him taking up a position as coach of an international team in the future.

"If the team starts winning a few IPLs, people might start thinking of me as an international coach," he joked. "The cricket runs in my blood and I want to do the best that I can do to enjoy that competitive feeling. You can't go from being a high level of competitor to nothing and you need to have something in your life. Coaching in a tournament like this gets the competitive juices flowing again."

Gaurav Kalra is a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo. @gauravkalra75

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Prashanth on May 24, 2015, 13:10 GMT

    Wow Ponting is just so full of himself! MI are the favorites today based on current form, but, MSD isn't a newbie in big Finals. He's been there and done that as well. One thing is for sure, never underestimate CSK. They weren't the favorites in the 2nd playsoffs as well and yet they somehow clawed their way in. Oh and a note, over the years i've noticed whenever Ponting runs his mouth with over confidence, it usually back fires, im just saying ;)

  • Dummy4 on May 24, 2015, 9:10 GMT

    Am so thrilled that ipl has come to an end finally. I am neither from Chennai nor Mumbai nor any other ipl teams and i am from a different state altogether. I'm saying this because i don't care whos playing who and it's only uptil now i saw that ipl has finally about to end. No one cares who wins because this is circus cricket with lots of money on offer. I'm expecting many players to miss international duty now starting with the Bangladesh series citing injuries.

  • Dummy4 on May 24, 2015, 4:03 GMT

    Saying is easy than perform in the field. CSK is always stronger that will be proved in the final.CSK the only team knows how to play in the play. CSK would win this trophy, then it will come to know who is better coach.

  • Dummy4 on May 24, 2015, 2:36 GMT

    @Punter: Remember the old saying; "Pride cometh before the fall!".

    The two teams are fairly evenly balanced. Had the pitch been the same spin friendly one ( which KKR effectively used to reap the home advantage), CSK would have had an edge (having a better bouquet of spinners). Now, with Eden Gardens preparing a new green-tinged pitch, as of now, it looks evens stevens.

    If the support crowd around MI has a better cumulative cerebral advantage, Dhoni alone has the street-smart stuff to match it.

    So, keep the fingers crossed and enjoy the match.

  • Dummy on May 24, 2015, 1:50 GMT

    Huh ! All ye MI haters! MI came to the finals after winning as many matches as Chennai has won. That's more matches than 6 other teams could win. Learn to respect when due .They have played like a team and won matches, unlike struggling CSK after departure of just one player in Mccullum. And law of averages? There is nothing like it. Mathematically, it is still 50-50.

  • Nat on May 24, 2015, 0:15 GMT

    I don't understand what leadership everyone is raving about, this team has Jonty and Shane Bond as coaches, Sachin & Kumble as mentors. The real question is what role Ponting has got to perform. The interview is usual Ponting stuff, "me, me and myself".

  • Dummy on May 23, 2015, 15:36 GMT

    I think instead of seeing rohit a captaincy material he needs to grow as a complete batsman in all formats first and it is already late. kohli is groomed for that and we are going to see him in the lines of ganguly.

  • ravi on May 23, 2015, 15:22 GMT

    ponting will be hiding after the game. MI has absolutely no chance. they are dreaming of they think they can beat csk tommorow.law of averages will hurt MI

  • Vishal on May 23, 2015, 15:21 GMT

    This is what IPL brings to the table, getting international superstars like Ponting mentoring Indian superstar-wanna-be Rohit. This couldn't have happened anywhere else!

  • Anuj on May 23, 2015, 14:50 GMT

    awesome hearing punters thoughts. I think he transformed a lot after 2008. we need to give him a lot of credit. I think he has been amazing as MI coach . he would be a wonderful coach at international level. how about new India coach with kohli. kohli needs someone like ponting. respect!

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