Sat, 09 Dec 2023

Dubai [UAE], September 20 (ANI): Australian legend Ricky Ponting shared his take on who could be the next Australia ODI captain after Aaron Finch recently announced his retirement from the ODI format in an episode of the ICC Review.

With less than a year for the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup in India, Finch made his decision to retire from ODIs during Australia's recent home series with New Zealand.

This means that Australia will need to make a decision quickly about who will succeed Finch as captain.

Ponting seemed sure of who was the right person to lead the Australian team and fill the shoes of the previous captain.

"I think it'll be Pat Cummins, to be honest. I know he doesn't play all the ODIs for obvious reasons, because his workload in Test cricket has been, like all the fast bowlers, very high in the last few years. I know they are very conscious of making sure that they've got Cummins, (Josh) Hazlewood and (Mitchell) Starc a 100 percent fit and healthy for the big Test series to come around. But look, I'll be surprised if it wasn't Pat Cummins," Ponting told host Sanjana Ganesan on The ICC Review.

Due to their involvement in the 2018 ball-tampering controversy in South Africa, Steve Smith lost his position as captain and received a two-year leadership ban, while his deputy Warner received a permanent leadership ban.

Ponting, though, argued that Warner's suspension to captain the side should be overturned due to Smith being given the present position as Test vice-captain.

"I'm just basing this on what's happened with Steve Smith, he is now the Test vice-captain again, having been the captain and really at the centre of the whole controversy in Cape Town. He is now the Test vice-captain, which means obviously that if Pat Cummins ever misses a Test, then Steve Smith is going to be the captain of Australia again in Test match cricket. So, if that's the case, and all being even and reasonably fair, then I think it would be okay, as far as I'm concerned, for David Warner to have his name (in the ring). Not saying that they have to make him captain, but he should be able to be in the conversation," Ponting noted.

In his 146 ODI appearances over the course of his career, Finch has averaged 38.89 runs with the bat. His total of 17 ODI hundreds rank third among Australian players.

However, a 2022 ODI average of just 12.42 indicated that the experienced right-time hander's was done, and Ponting commended the 35-year-old for quitting when he did.

"I wasn't surprised actually.. I sort of personally felt that he was probably one game away or one failure away from getting dropped anyway. That's how bad his last 12 months have been in one-day international cricket. I think it was the right time. I actually thought it was really noble, what he said as well, that stepping down when he did, it gives the next captain a reasonable time leading in to get themselves and his team ready for the next World Cup," Ponting said.

The legend also shared his story when he was also faced with the same kind of situation and chose to call it a day and hand it over to Michael Clarke, leaving him enough time to prepare.

"I was afforded a similar thing as well when I took over the captaincy, and when I stood down and Michael Clarke took over, I was very aware of what was coming up. I wanted to give the next captain a very good run into the next big tournament that they played," the former captain said.

It's also uncertain who will take Finch's spot and partner Warner at the top of Australia's batting order. Ponting suggested Marnus Labuschagne, among other players, as a potential replacement. He also mentioned the likes of Josh Inglis and Travis Head being in the contention.

"We saw Josh Inglis play the last ODI game, opening the batting," said Ponting. "Inglis went up there and Finch played his last game.There will be guys like Travis Head as well. A really underrated ODI player for Australia. The last series he played for Australia, I think it was against Pakistan in UAE, he had an unbelievably good tournament there. He has played a fair bit for Australia in the past and opened, batted in the middle-order," opined the Australian great. (ANI)

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