We are at the halfway stage of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 and former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting, selected his playing XI based on the star performers from the current edition. Majority of his players were from Mumbai Indians (MI), a side he played for in 2013 and coached in the next three seasons. MI have been in an incredible form as well, placed at the second spot with 6 wins from 8 games. Afghanistan’s star spinner Rashid Khan also made the cut along with veteran off spinner Harbhajan Singh. Ponting had picked David Warner, before the start of the tenth edition, as his ‘Player of the Tournament’ and still backs the left-hander to prove him right as the tournament progresses. Warner was named captain of Ponting’s IPL XI. IPL 2017: Rashid Khan is a terrific find for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), says Tom Moody
Ponting’s XI includes 4 batsmen from the Orange Cap list — Warner, Amla, Nitish Rana and Suresh Raina. On the other hand, 4 bowlers from the Purple Cap list also got a spot in Ponting’s side. Mitchell McClenaghan, Rashid, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Delhi Daredevils (DD)’s all-rounder Chris Morris were included in the former Australian’s XI. Speaking on the two most impressive youngsters so far, Ponting stated, “I had young Nitish Rana at Mumbai for a couple of years and it was only the last couple of games last year where he got some exposure and he played really well. He’s a very dynamic left-hander and he hits spin particularly well. If he’s got a weakness it’s against good quality fast bowling, but he’s been outstanding so far and he’s someone who could potentially play for India down the track as well. He’s a very exciting young talent”, Ponting was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia.
On Afghanistan’s spin sensation Rashid, Ponting added, “I like what I’ve seen in Rashid Khan in his first year in the IPL. David Warner has talked him up a lot already and they like what they get from him. He’s a right-arm leg-spinner and we all know how valuable leg-spinners can be in the tournament. Even someone like Amit Mishra you could probably throw in that side as well.”
Amla and Warner are Ponting’s openers whereas Raina, Buttler, Rana and Glenn Maxwell will come handy at No. 3, 4, 5 and 6 respectively. He has entrusted Morris with the all-rounders’s spot followed by his bowlers. Bhuvneshwar along with Harbhajan, McClenaghan and Rashid. It certainly looks like a promising line-up which any franchise-owner would love to get hold off.
Ponting’s IPL XI: David Warner (c), Hashim Amla, Suresh Raina, Jos Buttler (wk), Nitish Rana, Glenn Maxwell, Chris Morris, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell McClenaghan, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar