‘He’s making a change almost every ball, which is great’: Ponting praises Stokes’ ‘proactive’ captaincy

Birmingham, June 19 (IANS) Former Australian batter Ricky Ponting hailed England skipper Ben Stokes’ captaincy and his innovative field placement during Day 3 of the Ashes 2023 opener, here.

Stokes tried all sorts of experimental field placings and bowling tactics during Australia’s first innings in Birmingham, with a highly-unusual field helping remove centurion Usman Khawaja on day three.

When Australia captain Pat Cummins and Khawaja settled in after Alex Carey’s dismissal, England opted for some unusual bowling tactics to slow the scoring. And a particularly odd field helped unsettle centurian Khawaja when he was yorked by Ollie Robinson to depart for 141.

Ponting said Stokes’ commitment to moving things forward is a fantastic fillip for the Test game.

“It’s hard to keep up with them all, he’s making a change almost every ball, which is great, it’s proactive captaincy. He’s always trying to move the game forward, he’s looking at any little way that he possibly can to pick up a wicket and change the momentum of the game,” Ponting told ICC.

“With Khawaja’s innings, I’d hate to try and count how many times he changed the field for him and how many bowling changes and tactical changes he made to try and get Khawaja out – and then it finally worked.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a field like that in Test cricket before. There was just an umbrella of fielders around in-front of the batsman’s face. And it was all about bowling a couple of slower balls and being able to bowl a yorker. “It’s fantastic stuff. It’s really refreshing for the Test game to see a team play this way and a captain happy to try everything he possibly can,” he added.

England bowled Australia out for 386 in their first innings and were 28/2 at Stumps on Day 3, leading by 35.



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