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.
The moving ball has been a problem for the Aussie batsmen in the recent past.
In countries like England and South Africa, whenever the ball has swung or has nipped off the pitch, they have been found out.
But, in the first test against New Zealand in Wellington, they put on an improved show and batted very well on a green deck.
The critics would obviously say that they were lucky enough to be able to win the toss and insert New Zealand and it might have been a different scenario if they had batted first.
Yes, it might have been, that’s right, but, when the Aussies came in to bat in the first session of the second day, there was still a lot of green on the wicket and the ball was doing a little bit, maybe not as much as it was doing on the first morning, but, the bowlers definitely had something to work with.
The Australian top order, however, handled those conditions a lot better than how they had done handled it in England on their last Ashes tour.
In England, the Aussies were pretty loose and were trying to put bat on ball all the time and had almost forgot that there is a “Leave-Alone” shot as well in the Cricket text book.
But, in Wellington, there was enough patience shown by David Warner & his mates in the top order as they shouldered arms regularly against the new ball and bided their time.