PUNTER RIDES TO RESCUE Ricky to whip our bats into shape
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.