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AUSTRALIA V INDIA TESTS

Ponting picks his India Test squad

14 January 2017

Former skipper puts his selectors hat on during BBL match as National Selector Mark Waugh makes a very interesting remark

National Selector Mark Waugh has flagged the prospect of allrounder Mitchell Marsh not only returning to Australia's Test side for their tour of India, but possibly opening the bowling to allow for more spin options in the XI. 

Australia will announce their squad for the tour on Sunday morning and during Channel Ten's KFC Big Bash League coverage on Saturday night, Test legend Ricky Ponting put his selector's hat on and picked 16 players he'd like to take to India.

Ponting included uncapped South Australia captain Travis Head as well as allrounders Marsh, Glenn Maxwell and Ashton Agar, while he also picked batsman Shaun Marsh to return to the side.

But Ponting said he would only play the likes of Head, Maxwell and Agar – who are all quality batsmen who can bowl handy spin – if conditions dictated a third spin option was needed alongside frontline slow bowlers Nathan Lyon and Stephen O'Keefe.

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For the first Test in Pune, the former Test skipper added he would make just one change to the XI that won the third Test in Sydney earlier this month, bringing the younger Marsh brother in for Hilton Cartwright at No.6.

"You'd think the Australian team would only play two specialist fast bowlers (and) I think Mitchell Marsh's bowling in India will be a lot more effective that Cartwright's," Ponting said.

"(Head, Maxwell and Agar) can all bat well, they can all bowl well and I think at different times we're going to need some batsmen in our side who can bowl quality spin.

"(Playing one of that trio) would be conditions dependent, if it looked like it was going to be an absolute (turner)."

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At this point, Ponting's co-commentator and selector Waugh remarked: "You could play one quick and then play Mitchell Marsh as the opening bowler and slide someone (a spinner) in."

Ponting, who was part of the Australian side that recorded a breakthrough series win in India in 2004, cautioned that Virat Kohli's side would be a near unbeatable in home conditions.

"It's actually got harder and harder in the last four or five years (to win in India) because I think they've started to produce more spinning wickets in India than even when we played," Ponting said.

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"They used to turn on days three, four and five. Now they're turning from day one and that's why touring teams are finding it harder and harder to win there.

"The Indians thrive in those conditions (with Ravichandran) Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja. Jadeja is not a great spinner, but on those pitches he's near unplayable at times."

The official squad announcement will be live streamed on cricket.com.au at 10am AEDT Sunday.


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