Former Australia cricket captain Ricky Ponting, speaking from Milbrook Resort in Central Otago ahead of the NZ Golf Open, says his old team’s big game experience will prove the difference come finals time at the Cricket World Cup. Ponting said it set a blueprint for the rest of the tournament, notably the use of Shane Watson at No 6.”To me, right now, they are starting to look good,” said Ponting, who is sticking by his pre-tournament prediction of a New Zealand-Australia final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 29.
“We saw what [Mitchell] Starc can do when he gets it right. [Mitchell] Johnson hasn’t been at his best yet, but that won’t be far away, and they’ve got [Pat] Cummins or [Josh] Hazlewood to bring back in.
I liked what I saw against Sri Lanka. The balance of their side now that Watson has come in and batted down the order at six, I think it makes it look better”[Steve] Smith at three, [Michael] Clarke at four and Watson and Glenn Maxwell at the end to do the power hitting. It’s looking really good.”Ponting reckons Australia will go without a spinner when the knockout phase begins, with Cummins or Hazlewood preferred over Xavier Doherty.
That spin option didn’t really work well for them in Sydney,” he said.”I think they’ll go back to playing three quicks and use Watson, Maxwell and Clarke as the extra bowling resources.”He said Australia had more depth and strength across the board than anyone else, with the Kiwis a close second.”If you look at the teams, it’s pretty hard to find too many weaknesses in the Australian lineup,” he said. “They seem to have most bases covered.
“You’ve still got to stand up and deliver when it matters, but that’s the good thing about Australian cricket history; they generally deliver when it matters.”