‘The best batsman should be at three’, says Ricky Ponting

Image courtesy of: Sydney Morning Herald

“Michael has clearly been the best batsman in Australian cricket for probably the last three years, but he was always coming in too late when the damage had already been done”

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has announced that the baggy greens’ best batsman should be coming in at number three.

But, just who exactly does Ponting see as the best batsman in the Australian side at the moment?

The answer: Michael Clarke.

“I still have the same thoughts now,” Ponting said. “The best batsman should be at three – I said it during the last Ashes series as well.

“The times where we were 3 or 4 for 30, if your best batsman had been in earlier then maybe we’d have been only 1 or 2 for 30 or 40. You’re the best batsman in the team because you’ve got the most skill. You’ve got more skill and can handle situations better than others.

“Michael has clearly been the best batsman in Australian cricket for probably the last three years, but he was always coming in too late when the damage had already been done. I just think it sends a great statement as well, ‘I’m coming in now’, it puts pressure back on the bowlers, and just the way I feel it should be. That’s why I said it about Steve, he was clearly the best batsman in our team and ranked the best batsman in the world. I don’t think you can ask less skilled or less experienced guys to handle the hardest positions, it should always be up to you.”

During his days as a number three batsman, Ponting revealed that the biggest challenge he faced was the fear of getting out and letting his country down rather than scoring runs as a consistent rate.

“I was more worried about getting out at the end than scoring runs,” Ponting said. “That was my downfall – I was more worried about survival than hitting the first ball I saw for four.

“When I was batting at my best it didn’t matter when it arrived, if it was a half-volley or a short one then I was going to hit it for four. Towards the end it was more getting myself in through the initial period, building an innings, that sort of thing.

“No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t release the handbrake the way I needed to. So the pressure of it got me as much as anything and I don’t mind saying that. That was one thing that changed.”

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