Ricky Ponting says Peter Nevill ‘obvious’ choice to replace Matthew Wade in Ashes

Ricky Ponting has said Peter Nevill is the ‘obvious’ choice to replace Matthew Wade in the Australian cricket team for the upcoming Ashes series against England after the left-hander endured a poor run in the series against India, Bangladesh and the Sheffield Shield tournament.

cricket Updated: Nov 14, 2017 12:44 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Ashes 2017-18,The Ashes,Australian cricket team
Matthew Wade’s spot in the Australian cricket team for the Ashes series against England is under threat from the likes of Peter Nevill and Cameron Bancroft. (Getty Images)

Ricky Ponting has backed Peter Nevill as the ‘obvious’ choice to replace Matthew Wade as Australia’s wicketkeeper for the Ashes 2017-18 starting November 23 in Brisbane. The hosts are set to announce their squad for the first two Tests on Friday.

Wade was drafted into the Australian cricket team in a dramatic revamp post their defeats to South Africa at home last year, but the Victorian has had a torrid time with the bat, leaving selectors with no other choice but to contemplate change.

Ponting told cricket.com.au, “I reckon I’ve heard every wicketkeeper in Australia’s name mentioned in the last couple of weeks. If they do make a change, I would feel a bit for Wade, (given) the games that he’s played have been in the subcontinent leading up to (the domestic summer in) Australia.”

“It’s a hard place to bat for anyone over there. But they made it clear at the start of this Sheffield Shield season that these spots were up for grabs, and so far not many guys have put their hand up and said ‘I’m the man you’ve got to pick’. Nevill is the obvious one to go back to,” he added.

Ponting praised Nevill’s work, throwing his support behind the wicketkeeper-batsman who was dropped for not chipping with big scores and also being ‘quiet’ behind the wickets.

“He makes very few mistakes with the gloves, a good consistent character, a good guy to have around your side, works his backside off with the bat, he’s very hard to get out and when he bats for New South Wales he makes big scores. So for me he’s the obvious one.”

Cameron Bancroft, Western Australia’s wicketkeeper-batsman, has been in fine form in the Sheffield Shield encounters. (Getty Images)

Cameron Bancroft’s name is also doing rounds with the right-hander vying for a place with Matthew Renshaw, with the opening batsman going through a lean patch.

Ponting has backed Bancroft’s inclusion too. “I’ve heard Bancroft’s name mentioned the last few weeks, he has a chance to be the No 6 batter or the No 7 batsman/wicketkeeper. Alex Carey’s name has been thrown around as well (but) I’m not sure he’s quite ready for it yet just looking at how his batting numbers stack up in First-Class cricket,” he said.

‘Can’t force aggression’

With Nevill emerging as a ‘favourite’ to replace Wade, Ponting also said that it is not wise to force someone into a different ‘on-field persona’. “If it’s not natural for someone, you don’t want to force it on them,” Ponting said.

“Nevill’s not going to do it; Wade will do it. I’m sure Warner will be able to pick up a bit of the slack if the wicketkeeper goes quiet. It’s more about attitude, it’s needing to stand up when it’s your turn. That’s what Ashes cricket is all about. When it’s your turn to go out and bat, you’ve got to stand up, puff your chest out and know that it’s you and no-one else. Don’t leave it to anybody else. It’s no different with the wicketkeeper,” he concluded.

First Published: Nov 14, 2017 12:43 IST