Two-time World Cup-winning captain describes Pat Cummins decision to bowl first as a ‘gutsy, courageous move’
Cummins’ captaincy in final ‘almost faultless’: Ponting
Ricky Ponting has declared it's time to discard all the negativity about Pat Cummins' captaincy and salute his fellow World Cup-winning skipper's "almost faultless" leadership.
Australia's brilliant final triumph on Sunday, which came after Cummins had taken the daring option of putting a flying India side in to bat, prompted the 2003 and 2007-winning captain Ponting to offer the most generous of tributes to the captain's continuing excellence.
Asked about Cummins' captaincy on Sky Sports on Sunday, he said: "I think that's been almost faultless, to be honest.
"I mean, any captain deciding to bowl first at the toss, that's a gutsy, courageous move.
"Australia felt that if they could bowl well on that dry wicket early on and restrict India, batting was gonna get easier in the second innings – but we all know if you get that call wrong and you lose the game, that's a huge decision to make for a relatively young captain.
"I thought his leadership actually has got better and better right through the tournament.
"His bowling has got better, and the way he used his bowlers today and some of his field placements to (Virat) Kohli and KL Rahul, outstanding, so once again, an Australian team just finds a way to get it done in the final."
There had been plenty of critics ready to pile in on Cummins after the Test series defeat in India, and his tactical nous was also constantly put under the spotlight during the drawn Ashes series, despite Australia still coming home with the urn and the World Test Championship trophy.
But Ponting insisted: "I don't know where the negativity's come from because there's been no real basis for it.
"You look at their overall Test record since he's been captain is outstanding. And now he's a World Cup-winning captain, a World Test Championship-winning captain and a captain who retained the Ashes, so that negativity needs to be put aside now.
"Because there have been a number of moments - think back to the first Test of the Ashes - where he stood up and actually got the job done himself.
"Under extreme pressure with bat or ball, it's generally been him when his team's in trouble who's changed the course of the game. So he thoroughly deserves every plaudit that comes his way as far as leadership is concerned.'
2023 ODI World Cup Finals
First semi-final: India beat New Zealand by 70 runs
Second semi-final: Australia beat South Africa by three wickets