Ricky Ponting believes star quick Pat Cummins’ position for Australia’s Twenty20 World Cup crunch match could be in jeopardy.
The Australian legend has floated the idea of Cummins, the country’s Test and ODI captain, being left out for Friday’s decisive game against Afghanistan.
Australia need a monster win at Adelaide Oval to boost their net run-rate to be guaranteed of jumping above England into second place in Group 1.
Questions remain over Australia’s XI, with captain Aaron Finch and big-hitting batter Tim David in doubt with hamstring concerns.
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But even if Finch is declared fit to play, Ponting is open to the idea of Cummins making way for all-rounder Cameron Green’s first appearance of the tournament.
“If they are thinking about a quick going out, and this is going to be a tough decision for the selectors, but if they are thinking about that then maybe it is Cummins that goes out and Green comes in,” the 168-Test great told reporters at the MCG on Thursday.
“There’s been some negativity around around Pat, but these guys quite often are bowling all the hard overs.
“When you’re bowling up front and bowling at the death, you’ve got to be expected to go for a few more runs.”
Cummins’ fellow quicks, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, have done enough to secure their spots, according to Ponting.
“I think it’s been a really good ploy for Starc to not open the bowling, his record in the last 12 or 18 months with the new ball is less than flattering,” Ponting said.
“What they’ve done with using him outside the first couple of overs and through the middle has actually worked a treat.”
Defending champions Australia will miss out on qualifying for the semi-finals if England win big against Sri Lanka at the SCG on Saturday.
“If they don’t make it through there’ll be some questions asked, I’m sure, because I had them in the top-three coming here,” Ponting said.
“No one gave Australia a chance in the last one over in the UAE, in conditions that didn’t suit but then we’re home in our home conditions that all of these guys have been brought up in and played a lot of cricket.
“There can’t be any excuse as far as preparation is concerned.”