Mumbai Indians might not have made the playoffs in IPL, but, some of the things that Ricky Ponting did while being in charge of them this season did not harm his stature as a tactician at all.
One of the moves of the Aussie legend was quite weird when of all the people sitting in the hut; he chose the no. 11 Mitchell McLenaghan to bat four against Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens.
If you want big hitting, you have got names like Jos Buttler and Kieron Pollard and in case you want only a pinch hitter, there is an option in Harbhajan Singh who has done it for Mumbai once or twice already.
McLenaghan doesn’t bat higher than 10-11 even for his province side back in New Zealand. So, why would you have somebody like him ahead of all the other reputed personnel, that’s what everyone was wondering.
But, when Rohit Sharma explained the coach’s point of view later on, it made some sense and, also showed how much of an alert and instinctive character Ponting is.
According to Rohit, Ponting’s view was that Kolkata had a left arm spinner and a leg spinner in operation at that stage and it was comparatively easier for a southpaw to hit them.
Also, with McLenaghan’s power and the short size of Eden Gardens, he did not need to middle his shots to clear the fence. He just had to swing the bat hard and hope, he got a decent bit of wood on it.
His dismissal was not going to make any difference anyway and it was a win-win thing for Mumbai.
So, it was not just an act of experimentation, but, was thought out on Cricketing lines which came off too as McLenaghan vindicating his coach’s decision got three sixes away and scored Mumbai some key runs.