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I actually wasn’t that surprised : Ricky Ponting on Travis Head’s exclusion for Nagpur Test

Dubai : Australia batting great Ricky Ponting revealed he wasnt surprised by the shocking omission of left-handed batter Travis Head for the ongoing first Test against India at VCA Stadium, Nagpur.

He added that veteran opener David Warner needs runs too, otherwise he would end up with the same fate as Head. Head, 29, is currently sitting at number four in the ICC Test batting rankings, and made 525 runs at an average of 87.5 against the West Indies and South Africa in the home summer.

But for the Nagpur Test, right-handed batter Peter Handscomb came in for Head, leaving many former players baffled, not Ponting though. “I’ve actually been wondering what they might do with their line-up.

The fact that they played Matt Renshaw in Sydney (in the last Test), to me meant that they had probably had other plans in mind for him.” “If they’re going to keep him in, they couldn’t really afford to keep Travis Head in either, because they would’ve had five left-handers in their top seven, which probably would’ve played into Ravi Ashwin’s hands.

Ashwin loves, as we know, bowling to left-handers,” said Ponting in an episode of the ICC Review show. Ponting also pointed towards Head’s previous struggles in the subcontinent, averaging just 21.30.

Moreover, on Australia’s tours of Pakistan and Sri Lanka last year, Head fell to spinners five out of six times. “The other side of it is that Travis’ record outside of Australia, and particularly in the subcontinent, is nowhere near as good.

So when you put all those pieces together, I actually wasn’t that surprised,” he added. Warner, on the other hand, was cleaned up by Mohammad Shami, bowling from around the wicket, for just one in the third over of day one.

The dismissal meant his Test average in India is now at 22.88. With another innings left in Nagpur, followed by matches in New Delhi, Dharamshala and Ahmedabad, Ponting believes it’s going to be massively important for Warner to get runs under his belt in challenging conditions.

“Nine Test matches – well, eight-and-a-half, he’s got another (innings) yet – but that average would’ve dipped down again. He’s one of the players that has come out and said that winning in India, as far as he’s concerned, would be maybe even bigger than winning an Ashes series.”

“So, if the selectors and the coach and the captain, if they are so hell-bent on winning this series and a couple of their batters for the first few games don’t fire, then I think they have to have a look at picking who they think is their best line-up going forward.”

“I think Head’s been left out of this Test match because of his record in the subcontinent, plus the amount of left-handers that Australia have in their side. So you could probably say the same thing about David Warner.”

“The other thing on the back of it, unfortunately for David, is that he also hasn’t got a great record in England. The next Test series they play is very soon after this one finishes, obviously with an IPL in the middle.

David knows in his own heart of hearts that he needs to score some runs in the first part of this series,” concluded Ponting.






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