Rising Pune Supergiant may not believe in MS Dhoni’s captaincy ability anymore, but former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting had no hesitation in picking the two World Cup-winning and two IPL-title winning captain to lead his all-time IPL playing XI. (IPL 2017 FULL COVERAGE)
Ponting’s IPL XI comprises of seven Indians and four overseas players.
Ponting explained what made him chose Dhoni over Virat Kohli, who is also a part of his XI, as his team’s skipper and why he wants him to bat at no. 6. “MS Dhoni is at no. 6 and he’ll also be the captain of my side. He brings huge experience and whenever he’s at the crease... you’re always (in with) a chance of winning the game. I’ve seen him do it off his own bat on several occasions, so I’ll go with him as skipper, with the gloves and batting at no. 6,” Ponting was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
While Dhoni has notched up 3511 runs in 156 matches he has played during the 10 years of the IPL, this season the Indian stalwart hasn’t been at his best at least with the bat, amassing 240 runs at an average of 24 and has scored just one fifty.
Ponting has chosen Kohli for the No 3 spot, despite the Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper doing most of the damage in the opening slot.
Kohli is the second-highest run-getter in tournament history after compatriot Suresh Raina with 4360 runs in 148 matches. However, in this IPL, Kohli has found the going tough with just 250 runs at an average of 27.77 and has registered only three half-centuries in nine innings. Kohli’s team, who are the last IPL’s finalists, have failed to replicate their charm in this IPL.
“Virat Kohli has done a lot of his damage opening the batting, but I’ve slotted him in at No 3. He’s the sort of player you want in your side, especially in a run chase. Whenever a game is on the line, he puts his hand up and gets the job done. He was a bit of a slow bloomer in T20 cricket, it took him a while to work it out, but what I saw up close last year was unbelievable,” Ponting said.
The other Indians in Ponting’s team are Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra and Amit Mishra. For the opening slot, Ponting picked the destructive duo of West Indies’ Chris Gayle and Australia’s David Warner.
Ponting though sprang by including Indian leg-spinner Amit Mishra in his best XI. “I’ve gone for a bit of a shock here and have put Amit Mishra in the side. He’s got an outstanding IPL record, he’s got great variations and he’s a wicket-taker because he’s not scared to throw the ball up. He turns the ball enough both ways and he’s been a great performer for a long, long time,” said Ponting, who coached the Mumbai Indians for two seasons before parting ways this year.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga and West Indies’ Dwayne Bravo complete the full list.
The notable omissions were South African ODI skipper AB de Villiers, West Indies’ Sunil Narine and former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum.
Ponting’s best IPL playing XI: Chris Gayle, David Warner, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Dwayne Bravo, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Lasith Malinga, Ashish Nehra.