The hallmark of every army is its leader, a pillar of strength for the soldiers. The Mumbai Indians, looking to end their search for the champions tag, have got in their ranks one of the most experienced generals of the game — Ricky Ponting.
It is the most important gain for MI, who struggled to find a suitable leader in the five editions. Sachin Tendulkar was always a reluctant leader and Harbhajan Singh was never known for his leadership skills. But Ponting fits the bill. It is still early days but the vibes from the team are definitely positive. “It’s good to have Ricky as captain. I have played under his captaincy quite a lot,” said Mitchell Johnson on Saturday. “Ricky is easy to talk to and open to suggestions. I am enjoying having him here.”
The Australian has under his belt two World Cup titles as captain, but this tournament will pose a different challenge. Wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik too has positive things to say about Ponting. “In terms of runs, he has not had a great IPL thus far, but the intensity and the way he brings the unit together is admirable. He is a great captain,” Karthik had said after the game against Delhi.
Ponting might not have clicked with the bat, but with a good part of the league remaining, he could be a game away from finding his sublime touch. He had a great run back home in Australia, emerging as the highest run-getter in the Sheffield Shield and scoring a lot of runs in Big Bash.
His destructive batting and a bit of athleticism on the field make him the perfect T20 package — just the right kind of catalyst Mumbai are looking for.