Former skipper Ricky Ponting reckons that Australia should stick with Joe Burns over Will Pucovski for the first Test against India slated to begin from December 17. Pucovski has been in fine form as he smashed two double centuries in Sheffield Shield this season and was named in the Test squad last week. Pucovski’s fine form with the bat and contrasting struggles of Burns had opened up the debate for the opening slot with David Warner in the Australian side.
But Ponting has backed Burns over Pucovski for the first Test as he believes it gives confidence to the player to go out and play without any fear of losing their position in the line-up.
“I know when I was captain, I had a pretty strong philosophy with the selectors that once you’re in my team, I wanted to do everything I could to make sure you stayed there. I didn’t want to be making changes and I always felt it was my responsibility as captain to get the absolute best out of the players I had in my team,” cricket.com.au quoted Ponting as saying.
“I think it gives individuals a bit more confidence to go out and play a certain way and not be scared about their position in the line-up. That adds a lot around the group,” the former skipper further said.
“Burns hasn’t done much wrong. If you go back to last summer, he played really well in the first Test in Brisbane and I remember saying then to lock him in and give him a good go at it for a while,” Ponting added.
Last week, head coach Justin Langer had hinted that Burns will retain his place at the top of the batting order for the first Test.
Langer had referred to the strong partnership that Burns has had with David Warner, which also played an important role in Australia’s ascent to the top of the ICC Test rankings.
India and Australia will square off against each other in three ODIs, three T20Is, and four Tests. The tour will commence with the three-match ODI series, slated to begin from November 27 in Sydney.
India skipper Virat Kohli will be playing just one Test against Australia and will then head back home after being granted paternity leave by the BCCI.
BCCI had also confirmed that Rohit Sharma will be rested for the white-ball leg of the Australia tour and will be a part of the Test squad. He hit the National Cricket Academy on Thursday to complete his rehabilitation after suffering a hamstring injury during the IPL.
The first Test between India and Australia will be a day-night contest. The four-match series will be a part of the World Test Championship (WTC). India and Australia are at the top two spots in the WTC standings.
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