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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Simon says: get up Punter's nose

In todays Australian (via the UK Sunday Times) Simon Wilde offers the England team some advice about how to discomfort (and dismiss) Ricky Ponting.

Wilde recommends following these steps:

1. Get on his nerves ("Ponting has a temper") and try to provoke him into doing something stupid which may just lead, given his record in these matters, to his being suspended.

2. Bowl very accurately to him at the beginning of each innings.

3. "Keep the ball outside off stump, make it swing away, and let him nick to the catchers in the close cordon. But don't stray too wide, or he will murder you."

It goes without saying that any chances he offers should be held. Wilde also thinks that, as early in his career Ponting struggled against spin, a high quality spinner might also have a reasonable chance of dismissing him. I'm not too sure about that one; the others are mostly commonsense and would apply to other good batsmen.

These things said, Wilde's comments about the beginning of Ponting's first innings in Adelaide reveal that he is a close observer of the game.

[After Ashley Giles dropped him]The jitters weren't finished yet. When James Anderson came on, Ponting drove and edged just short of gully. He then played and missed. Then he survived a leg-before shout; the ball was just going down leg. Soon he went for a foolish single that would have cost him his innings had Paul Collingwood's throw from midwicket hit its target. All this, remember, on a pitch deader than a Norwegian parrot.

I'd have liked to see something about the captain's second innings when he reached 49, at which point Ashley Giles (the high quality spinner?) dismissed him against the run of the play.

I'll be watching Ricky's batting in Perth very closely to see if the England bowlers heed Wilde's advice and, more importantly, if it works.

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