Former Australia captain and batting great Ricky Ponting© BCCI
Two-time World Cup-winning captain Ricky Ponting has backed Steve Smith to come out of his “indifferent” form as Australia gears up for the much-anticipated tour of India early next year, saying there is nothing wrong with the star batter’s technique. Ponting reckons the opposition teams may have found ways to put brakes on Smith’s free-flowing batting.
“The best way to describe it is, it (Smith’s form) has been indifferent. For four or five years, he has been so incredibly consistent, making consistently high scores, making four, five or six hundreds in a Test match calendar year and he hasn’t been able to do that in the last couple of years,” Ponting said on ‘The ICC Review’.
“I have watched him quite closely, and I don’t think there is anything technically there that has changed too much.
“Opposition teams maybe have finally started to work out the way they can slow him down from scoring quickly or have found some ways to attack him and get him out,” he added.
Australia will tour India in February-March next year for a five-Test series, which is part of the World Test Championship (WTC) 2021-23 cycle.
Prior to the Test matches, Australia’s white-ball team will travel to India for a three-match T20I series.
And going into the tour Smith’s form will be vital for Australia, who are seeking to qualify for their maiden WTC final.
While Smith has 28 Test centuries to his name, only two of those have come since the Ashes series in England in 2019 and his unbeaten 145 against Sri Lanka earlier this month was the first time he had reached triple figures since his brilliant ton against India at the start of 2021.
Smith has scored seven fifties during that span and Ponting has backed the former skipper to get his mojo back soon.
“But knowing Steve and how well he prepares himself and how deeply he thinks about his game, I don’t think it’s going to be too long before you see him back there scoring heavily again.” Both India and Australia can finish among the top two in the WTC standings and reach the final.
“I think Australia’s chances really hinge on the upcoming Indian tour, to be honest and India’s chances are a little bit the same,” Ponting said.
“It is always a much-anticipated series – Australia and India, whether it be in Australia or in India – it’s much hyped up and talked about, the rivalry between the two countries is just growing year on year.”
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