Sydney, March 7: Three-time cricket World Cup winner Ricky Ponting on Saturday said the axing of Shane Watson leaves Australia’s batting line-up dangerously exposed heading into the business end of the ongoing tourment. Watson was dropped for Australia’s match against Afghanistan on Wednesday, with Steven Smith moving up the order to replace the all-rounder at first drop and James Faulkner coming back into the side to bat at No.7. The new-look batting line-up flourished against the associate tion in Perth, compiling 417/6.
But Ponting warns a middle order consisting of Maxwell at No.5, Mitchell Marsh at No.6 and Faulkner at No.7 could be exposed against the better tions later in the tourment.
“Steve Smith is a brilliant batsman and there is no problem with him batting at No.3, but with the team they had against Afghanistan you are asking for problems,” Ponting wrote in The Australian.
“If you lose early wickets you have Maxwell coming in at No.5 and I am not comfortable with that. I think it would make the selectors nervous too.”
The former Australian skipper questioned Maxwell’s ability to play under pressure.
“Maxwell is a terrific player but he is better in certain roles and positions. If the team is 3-20 there is a lot of pressure on him and he has to play a different role,” Ponting, who captained Australia to World Cup victories in 2003 and 2007 World Cup, pointed out.
“Maxwell is an X-factor player and I just don’t know about him coming in at that spot, especially with Faulkner following. Look, they are all terrific players and exciting talents and we have seen them save the side on occasions when the pressure has been put on them, but you can’t bank on that.” IANS