The creases on Ricky Ponting’s forehead are starting to deepen. It’s been a dreadful start to his coaching career. But the Mumbai Indians coach has been through such a situation before.
After the retirement of all the stalwarts, Australia had suddenly become a diminished force post-2007 and the results simply dried up for captain Ponting towards the end of his glittering career. Especially, playing in India became a terrible experience, losing his last Testseries before bowing out in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinals at Ahmedabad; then a short stint as an IPL player was also unproductive.
His second innings in the game has also begun in India, but there has been no change in fortunes. After starting with three defeats, pressure is on him to get the side out of the rut.
As MI prepare to take on the most-feared opponents in IPL, Chennai Super Kings, at the Wankhede Stadium, it will be interesting to see how the great man reacts to his new challenge in India.
Uppermost in his mind will be sorting out the batting woes. It’s so dependent on Rohit Sharma that if the captain fails, the unit has been collapsing.
Kieron Pollard, the other batsman among their icon players, played a great hand in the last game, smashing a 34-ball 70. But his moments of brilliant power-hitting are sporadic for his reputation and the amount invested in him by the franchise. Expectations from the Trinidadian giant are about making a Glenn Maxwell-like impact.
Their comparison is direct for Mumbai, who had preferred to retain Pollard over Maxwell. To add to MI’s woes, they have lost opener Aaron Finch for the season due to injury. Ponting will also be breaking his head over the combination of his new-ball attack. The experiment to open with left-arm pacer Puwan Suyal has not worked. And CSK openers Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith are big threats.
Rohit acknowledged the issues facing his side. “It’s not bowling alone. In batting also, in the first six overs we need to bat better. We are losing a few wickets in the first six overs. When you lose a match, it is because you play poorly in all the departments.”
MI will derive confidence from a 4-1 win-loss record against CSK at the Wankhede.