ANI Photo | Actually wasn’t that surprised: Ricky Ponting on shock Travis Head omission

Australia great Ricky Ponting has revealed he wasn’t surprised by the controversial omission of star batter Travis Head from the Australia squad for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and believes experienced opener David Warner requires some runs soon if he doesn’t want to suffer the same fate.
Given the abundance of left-handers in Australia’s top order and Head’s three half-centuries during Australia’s previous Test series against South Africa at home, Ponting was not shocked he was not chosen.
“I’ve actually been wondering what they might do with their line-up. The fact that they played Matt Renshaw in Sydney (in the last Test), to me meant that they had probably had other plans in mind for him. If they’re going to keep him in, they couldn’t really afford to keep Travis Head in either, because they would’ve had five left-handers in their top seven, which probably would’ve played into Ravi Ashwin’s hands. Ashwin loves, as we know, bowling to left-handers,” Ponting said in the ICC Review.
“The other side of it is that Travis’ record outside of Australia, and particularly in the subcontinent, is nowhere near as good. So when you put all those pieces together, I actually wasn’t that surprised,” he added.
At the commencement of the critical ICC World Test Championship series, Australia was reduced to 2/2 as Warner was cleaned up by Mohammad Shami, bowling from around the wicket.
Warner’s overall record away from home in Test cricket isn’t the most compelling. The left-hander has accumulated 2994 runs at a middling average of 33.64 away from home. But in India, it dips further to 22.88.
Ponting said it’s imperative for Warner to score runs in the first half of the series.

“I think he averages 24 in India, something like that, from about eight Test matches,” Ponting said.
“Today nine Test matches – well, eight-and-a-half, he’s got another (innings) yet – but that average would’ve dipped down again today. He’s one of the players that has come out and said that winning in India, as far as he’s concerned, would be maybe even bigger than winning an Ashes series,” he added.
“So, if the selectors and the coach and the captain, if they are so hell-bent on winning this series and a couple of their batters for the first few games don’t fire, then I think they have to have a look at picking who they think is their best line-up going forward.
“I think Head’s been left out of this Test match because of his record in the subcontinent, plus the amount of left-handers that Australia have in their side. So you could probably say the same thing about David Warner,” said the Australian great.
Peter Handscomb was given the opportunity to play in his first Test match since 2019 thanks to Head’s omission, and the right-hander looked strong upon his comeback with a valiant 31 batting at number six.
Ponting said Handscomb’s inclusion was a “horses for courses” selection.
“He’s had a couple of really good years of (domestic) Sheffield Shield cricket. He’s captain of Victoria. I think he might’ve been the leading run-scorer in the Shield competition last year. He started this year really well,” Ponting said.
“So, he’s done everything he can to get back into the Australian squad. But the one thing that’s been in his favour is the fact that this series is in India. If this series had been in England or in South Africa, for instance, then I don’t think Handscomb would’ve got picked,” he added. (ANI)

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