‘Shardul told me he didn’t get enough bowling, felt the pinch. If you ask Virat…': Ponting slams India's preparation
Ricky Ponting said India were not prepared well for the WTC final as two of their pacers Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav haven't had a lot of bowling in IPL.
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has brought India’s preparation ahead of the ongoing World Test Championship final under the microscope, criticizing, in particular, the form and selection of the Indian pacers.
India were rocked by a strong Australian batting performance led by Travis Head and Steve Smith, who joined forces to help their side score 469 in the first innings. It was enough to give the Australian outfit a 173-run lead at The Oval, leaving India staring down the barrel of another WTC final loss.
Only two - Mohammed Shami and Siraj - of the four quicks that were picked appeared ready for the grind of five-day cricket. Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav looked a bit undercooked. In the leadup to the WTC final, Thakur had bowled 21 overs in the whole of IPL and Umesh bowled 19, less than what they bowled in Australia's first innings.
“I think they have been outplayed so far. Their preparation wasn't probably ideal coming into a one-off Test what with all their players being at the IPL,” said Ponting of the Indian team. “You know, few of the Australian boys were there. Few of the Australian boys hadn't done anything for three months either.”
Ponting commented on the lack of match practice and conditioning for the Indian bowlers throughout the IPL, a short-form competition, for which Shardul and Umesh were injured and not playing in large parts. “I had a chat with Shardul this morning, he said he's started to feel the pinch because he has not been able to get enough bowling. The overs that he has bowled in a day and a half, he bowled in the whole of IPL."
'If you ask Rahane, he wouldn't have been picked without IPL': Ponting
The former Aussie skipper also questioned the Indian batters and their mindset and preparation due to the IPL. “If you ask Virat, he would say that it's been perfect for him because he has got all sorts of runs. If you asked Rahane, he wouldn't have been picked for this match without the IPL. So it's going to work both ways.”
Ponting, however, also mentioned that the Australians have looked slightly off-colour, with uncharacteristic errors with the ball in hand and on the field. “I sort of underlined coming into this game what was the best preparation; was it out and playing pretty high-quality competitive cricket in the IPL or was it better off being at home and resting up and doing a bit of non-competitive training. So far it's shown that both teams have been a bit rusty.”
To conclude, Ponting emphasized the importance of performing on the day and when it matters most in this kind of situation, in which nobody would be entirely satisfied with the preparation. “One-off game and in the time of the year, there's never going to be ideal preparation time for anybody. But you got to do the best you can to get prepared and get ready and try and execute it on the day. I mean, Travis Head is a great example, hasn't picked up a bat for a few months. It comes down to the individual.”
India have fought their way back into the game but Australia remain in the driver's seat, having extended their lead to 296 with six wickets still in the shed.