India might employ a three-pace attack against Australia on Sunday after watching the defending champions’ top-order struggle against a barrage of bouncers by a hostile West Indies pace battery, feels Ricky Ponting.
The West Indies trio of Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell and Andre Russell terrorised the Australian batsmen with their fiery pace and disconcerting short balls, reducing the five-time champions to 38 for four at one stage during last World Cup match Thursday.
Two-time World Cup winning captain Ponting, who is currently the assistant coach, believed the sight of his boys scurrying for cover might tempt the Indian team management to go with three quicks instead of playing two wrist-spinners.
“(Jasprit) Bumrah we know is a very good new ball bowler and I’m sure he’ll mix it up and bowl some short stuff and some full stuff,” Ponting was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“Bhuvneshwar will probably not worry you too much with his pace or his bouncers. Hardik can maybe rush you a little bit, so maybe they have a decision to make on the overall make up of their side.
“Do they maybe go with only the one spinner and use (off-spinning allrounder) Kedhav Jadav as a second spinner and play another fast bowler? We’ll worry about that in the next couple of days and make sure all the boys are prepared.”
The former skipper felt the team’s early wobble in their 15-run win over West Indies was a necessary “wake-up call” ahead of the India clash.
“It could very well be a wake-up call. Just understanding that if you are under pressure in big games like World Cup games, finding a mechanism or a way to get through (is important),” said Ponting.
“It could be just a good learning curve for those guys at the top and hopefully they’ll bounce back strong.”
The three-time World Cup winner said he will try to get “inside the heads” of the likes of Usman Khawaja and Glenn Maxwell, who failed to cope with the short ball and were dismissed early.
“I want to understand what they are thinking about at different times. It’s not always just about the execution, it’s about what’s going inside your mind that causes the poor shots,” Ponting said.
“Usman got hit again so he’s had a few hits in the last few weeks. I haven’t spoken to him (to see) if he’s rattled, but that’s part and parcel of top order batting against brand new balls against guys who are bowling 140 kph an hour.
“You’ve got to find a way to cope and a way to get through hostile spells knowing that it’s not going to last forever.”
After being unsettled by a barrage of short balls, Khawaja ended up with a thick edge, while Maxwell too perished in pursuit of an attempted hook shot off just his second ball.
“It’s a bit of an uncharacteristic shot from (Maxwell) as well, he’s not a natural hooker and puller of the ball anyway,” said Ponting.
“These are the things I want to ask him about as well when we finish up tonight, just get inside their heads a little bit.”