Cricketers should be judged on their Test performance: Ponting

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Mumbai, April 7 (IANS) Despite the advent of Twenty20 cricket in recent times, Mumbai Indians head coach Ricky Ponting on Thursday said he still believes in the old school theory that a player should be judged on his Test performance.

Defending champions Mumbai Indians start their ninth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign against new franchise Rising Pune Supergiants at the Wankhede Stadium here on Saturday.

“I am very much traditionalist as far as our game is concerned. I might be looking like an old school guy like I am saying. Players I believe should still be judged on how good a Test player they are. I think that it is the way cricket has been looked upon all the time. I may say that I am a Test traditionalist,” Ponting said at a press conference here.

Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma has not been in good form lately in the recent World T20 but the former Australia skipper praised the right-handed batsman as one of the best in the world and backed him to get back to form in the T20 tournament.

“Rohit is one of the best players in the world. He has shown that over the long period of time. The main thing about the game is that it is very hard to maintain the top form all the time. Hope he shows his form in this edition of IPL. I am nice and relaxed as far as his game is concerned, I hope he is also nice and relaxed and he is excited to play IPL and captain the side,” the 41-year-old said.

The World Cup winning skipper for Australia also praised India and Mumbai Indians seamer Jasprit Bumrah and hoped the youngster continues with his good form in the coming IPL.

“Seeing from outside over the last couple of months, I am very much pleased with Bumrah’s improvement. If you see last year’s IPL he was coming into play after injury. Now he has got a chance to recover. He is fit and what he has done for India in few months is fantastic that he is in form. Hope he continues his form in the IPL,” he said.

Sri Lanka pacer Lasith Malinga, who failed to feature for his national side in World T20 due to injury, is most likely to miss the first half of the IPL, according to Ponting.

“He (Malinga) is not with the squad yet. Hopefully he will be coming and joining the squad in the latter part of the tournament. For now it is unlikely that he will take part in the first half of the tournament. I hope the replacements we have in place of him are good,” he said.

“Any side who has Malinga is always better on paper. He will surely be missed, but we have to look ahead of that. Will it be Merchant De Langa or Tim Southee. We have to see if we can play three batsmen as well,” the former Australia skipper said.

When asked if he would like to take up the job of coaching the Indian cricket team, Ponting made it clear that he loves coaching, but is not looking at taking up the role anytime soon.

“Look I haven’t stated that I will coach, but I love coaching and I love coaching with young guys, it is just a big passion of mine. I love being able to teach younger players. Coaching is in my blood. I cannot say that I am just now interested to take up international job,” he said.

“I have a young family now and I have been travelling for long time playing for the country. So it is probably unlikely in the short period of time to consider an international job, but it feels good that people think about that I am good enough to take up coaching in international level,” Ponting concluded.

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