The Indian Premier League has reached the halfway mark but it seems that the former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has already found his best XI for the season. Ponting has put together some solid performers from the season so far and constructed a unique but balanced side.
However there is a twist in the tale here, while selecting his team of the tournament Ponting has bent the rules slightly. Ponting gave a miss to the rule of picking only four overseas players in the playing eleven for a match. Thus, Ponting’s XI has been built up by selecting players from all over the world. The team consists of four Indians, two Australians, two South Africans, and one player each from New Zealand, England and Afghanistan!
Ponting has assigned the opening role to Hashim Amla and David Warner. Both the players are in stellar form, with Amla proving that he’s a class batsman in the shortest format of the game too and Warner playing those explosive knocks.The duo can be a nightmare for any opposition and given the circumstances they can switch gears with one acting as the anchor and the other being the aggressor.
Surprisingly Virat Kohli has been axed from the team and the Gujarat Lions Skipper Suresh Raina takes the number three position in Ponting’s IPL XI of the season. Raina has been in good form this season and is one of the top 10 run getters of the season with 310 runs from 9 encounters.
The middle order is something worth looking at. It boasts of the mighty Englishman Jos Buttler along with MI’s find of the season Nitish Rana both of whom have turned out to be match winners for the Mumbai Indians. Add to this the Big show of cricket Glenn Maxwell, his adaptability and a decent run in the tournament so far earns him a place. To such a mighty looking middle order Ponting adds the topping of Delhi Daredevil’s all-rounder Chris Morris. Morris has been sensational with the bat as well as the ball; he has entered during the tail end of the matches and has displayed some brilliant assaults with the bat. Remember his 9 ball 38 cameo against the Rising Pune Supergiant? well that knock has the highest strike rate (422.22) IPL has ever witnessed (min. 25 runs).
The bowling order chosen by Punter has been picked meticulously and almost seems complete. If the batting department is all class and might the bowling department is accurate and brainy. The ‘Turbanator of Indian Cricket’, Harbhajan Singh has been picked as one of the two spinners. Ponting believes that Bhajji’s variations and hard hitting skills add value to the team and seem to have been far too underrated.
The Afghani sensation and one of the rising superstars in this year’s IPL Rashid Khan will be Harbhajan’s partner in crime in Punter’s XI. Though playing in his debut season the 18 year old has displayed some skillful and commendable leg spin bowling.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar one of IPL’s best bowler and this season’s leading wicket taker along with Mitchell McClenaghan complete the bowling attack. Though the team looks strong and invincible one cannot help but observe that no players from Rising Pune Supergiant and Royal Challengers Bangalore feature in the legendary Australian skippers chosen few.
Ricky Ponting’s IPL XI: Hashim Amla, David Warner, Suresh Raina, Jos Buttler, Nitish Rana, Glenn Maxwell, Chris Morris, Harbhajan Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mitchell McClenaghan, Rashid Khan.