The Courier-Mail

PUNTER RIDES TO RES­CUE Ricky to whip our bats into shape

- BEN DOR­RIES

RICKY Ponting is poised to be­come Aus­tralia’s cricket saviour, with ad­vanced ne­go­ti­a­tions to bring the bat­ting great back into the fold.

Cricket Aus­tralia has ap­proached Ponting sev­eral times this year to try to per­suade him to sign as an ex­pert bat­ting con­sul­tant.

Team per­for­mance boss Pat Howard said the con­ver­sa­tions were con­tin­u­ing.

“We have spo­ken to Ricky a few times this year to be around the (Aus­tralian) side,” Howard said.

“I am cer­tainly very open to get­ting him in­volved and we would love to have him on board.

“I sense Ricky would also love to be in­volved.

“His time com­mit­ments are ob­vi­ously one of the big chal­lenges.’’

Ponting would be a won­der­ful choice to help Aus­tralia’s bats­men out of the dol­drums and re­store the fa­mous baggy green ethos, which for­mer Aus­tralian coach John Buchanan says dis­ap­peared in the Michael Clarke era.

Ponting en­joyed spec­tac­u­lar suc­cess in his first foray into se­nior coach­ing, con­jur­ing a vic­tory for Mum­bai in the In­dian Premier League.

Mum­bai lost their first four matches but even for­mer bit­ter ri­vals like Harb­ha­jan Singh were im­pressed with how Ponting turned the side around.

“He stayed calm and com­posed,” Harb­ha­jan said.

“He is a very pos­i­tive guy and that’s the way he played cricket through­out his ca­reer.’’

In his last few years in the Test side, sharp cricket brain Ponting men­tored young Aus­tralian bats­men with tech­ni­cal and men­tal tu­ition.

Coach Dar­ren Lehmann loves to welcome for­mer Aus­tralian greats back into the fold and Ponting would be the most pop­u­lar of them all.

Ponting, with 13,378 runs at an av­er­age of 51.85 from 168 Tests, cer­tainly has vastly more ex­pe­ri­ence than cur­rent Aus­tralian bat­ting coach Michael Di Venuto, who did not play Test cricket and made 241 runs at an av­er­age of 26.7 from nine ODI matches.

Ponting could even be a fu­ture Aus­tralian head coach.

The only prob­lem re­mains whether Ponting can clear enough time in his sched­ule.

He has a busy busi­ness life, in­clud­ing IPL coach­ing com­mit­ments and a Chan­nel 10 Big Bash com­men­tary job dur­ing part of the Aus­tralian sum­mer.

The Courier-Mail can also re­veal that CA has locked up one for­mer cham­pion Aus­tralian crick­eter for coach­ing roles, with re­tired fast bowler Ryan Harris sign­ing on to coach Aus­tralia’s un­der-17 side.

Harris, who broke down be­fore the Ashes, will also be Aus­tralia’s as­sis­tant coach at the un­der-19 World Cup next year and an as­sis­tant coach with the Prime Min­is­ter’s XI and CA XI teams in the up­com­ing sum­mer.

There have been move­ments be­hind the scenes to se­cure re­tir­ing Test opener Chris Rogers to a coach­ing role within Cricket Aus­tralia.

De­spite some ru­mours Rogers may play on af­ter the Ashes, the 37-year-old will def­i­nitely fin­ish his ca­reer af­ter the fifth Test.

 ??  ?? TOP DE­BUT: Ricky Ponting joined Sachin Ten­dulkar to work won­ders with Mum­bai, in the In­dian Premier League.
TOP DE­BUT: Ricky Ponting joined Sachin Ten­dulkar to work won­ders with Mum­bai, in the In­dian Premier League.

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