Ponting hopes to change horror script

Updated: 06 October 2008 10:13 IST

If Ricky Ponting looks at his Test batting average in India, he will surely rub his eyes in disbelief because it matches that of a tail-ender.

Ponting hopes to change horror script

New Delhi:

If Australia captain Ricky Ponting looks at his Test batting average in India, he will surely rub his eyes in disbelief because it matches that of a tail-ender.

An average of 12.28 in eight Tests in India could never do justice to the stature of one of the great batsmen of the modern era known for taming bowling attacks with audacious strokeplay.

Ponting, 33, has been done in by spin on low, slow Indian pitches since his first appearance in the country in 1996 with Mark Taylor's team. The more he tried to solve the spin puzzle, the more he failed.

Whether it was off-spin or leg-spin or left-arm spin, Ponting looked clueless. He has scored just 172 runs with one half-century in 14 Test innings on Indian soil.

Ponting fell 13 of the 14 times to spin in India, his worst coming in 2001 when he was dismissed on five occasions by off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on his way to a miserable 17 runs in five innings.

It was during that horror series that Ponting earned the sobriquet of "Harbhajan's bunny". An injury put paid to his hopes of redeeming himself on the next tour in 2004.

He played in only the last of the four Tests, but Australia had already clinched the series by then under Adam Gilchrist's captaincy. Ponting flopped in his lone match also, scoring 11 and 12 on a vicious Mumbai turner.

Ponting's batting skills desert him only when he comes to India, for he has done remarkably well in other parts of the South Asian sub-continent.

He averages 50.11 in six Tests in Sri Lanka, 95.50 in two matches in Bangladesh and made 119 in his only Test in Pakistan.

The stylish batsman, one of the seven cricketers to have completed 10,000 Test runs, is now out of prove that he is capable of changing the script this time.

Ponting said he needed to have faith in his technique to succeed in India.

"It's a matter of me trusting my technique," he wrote in a column ahead of the tourists' arrival in India.

"I have a reasonable record in Sri Lanka and everywhere else the ball has spun. India is the one place that has brought me undone. Having played eight Tests in India for an average of just 12 is something I'm not happy with.

"Hopefully, that can be rectified on this tour."

Former Australian captain Ian Chappell, who averaged 46.28 in five matches in his only Test series in India in 1969, said Ponting needed to show more patience against spinners.

"Ponting's desire to dictate gets him into a bit of trouble in India," said Chappell. "He has not displayed the patience required at the start of an innings when you are facing good spinners in India.

"He tends to push out at the ball when defending rather than letting the ball come to him. Good players of spin reach out to smother the spin in attack, but in defence let the ball come to them.

"Ponting has been dismissed for so many low scores; he has not found a method that will allow him to survive this danger period."

The four-Test series begins in Bangalore on October 9. The remaining Tests will be played in Mohali, New Delhi and Nagpur.

Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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