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London, June 10 – Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting revealed he is a huge fan of England’s approach since leadership duo Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes took charge.
But the ICC Hall of Famer also said that England should be wary of the pitfalls that could come from preparing conditions to suit their ultra-attacking batting philosophy, reports ICC.
Ponting, who was speaking during the ICC World Test Championship Final at The Oval on Friday, believes England’s bowlers could come a cropper if the boundaries are brought in and pitches are prepared to the “fast and flat” specification that Stokes mentioned earlier in the English summer.
“It’s been refreshing to see England’s win-at-all-costs mentality, not caring about losing a game – or not putting that ahead of trying to win a game,” Ponting said. “For that fact, I can’t wait for the Ashes to start.
“I’m really intrigued to see what conditions England want to play that style of cricket. Because if they want the flatter wickets with the smaller boundaries, it might just backfire on their bowling group. That’s the biggest thing for me.”
The English trio of James Anderson, Ollie Robinson and Stuart Broad are at their most dangerous when the ball is moving around.
And should they not have as much assistance, Ponting feels that Australia’s strong batting line-up have the potential to tuck in.
“Their batters will want flatter wickets and their bowlers will want the other,” Ponting added.
“Broad, Anderson and Robinson will want pitches that will offer them something. If they don’t have those wickets for their bowling attack, we’ll see how they go against the Aussie batters.
“We’ve got a pretty good idea of what both teams are going to look like. We know the way England are going to play, and I don’t think Australia are going to deviate from the way they’ve played over the last two years because it’s held them in great stead all around the world.
“It’s the conditions that I can’t wait to see.”
England’s revival in Test cricket under Stokes and McCullum has seen them win home series against New Zealand and South Africa as well as Tests against India and Ireland in the past year.
Yet Australian star Steve Smith is among those to have questioned whether England’s new uber-aggressive approach will work against arguably the best bowling attack in world cricket.
And while Ponting isn’t sure whether it will work, he is absolutely certain that England will stick to their guns.
“I don’t think it’s impossible, but I think they’ll definitely try. The Australian attack have to be ready for it,” Ponting added.
“I’ve got a few thoughts on what I’d be doing if I was an Australian fast bowler, if I was talking to the Australian fast bowlers about how to bowl to the England batsmen.
“I think the way they’ve played this way for the last couple of years is with this series in mind – they’re trying to find a brand of cricket they can play that can win them an Ashes series.”
What the Australian attack will look like is still not completely clear, with Josh Hazlewood’s fitness in doubt after he missed the World Test Championship Final due to injury.
Fellow pacer Scott Boland replaced Hazlewood in the XI for the match against India, and excelled in the English conditions.
But Ponting still feels it’ll be Hazlewood who gets the nod for the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston.