Indian Premier League 2017
Warner to thrive in IPL top job: Ponting
Ricky Ponting says extra responsibility of captaincy will help David Warner reverse his form, tips him to be Player of the Tournament
9 April 2017, 02:37 PM AEST
Ricky Ponting has backed Aussie opener David Warner to reverse his form from the recent Test series in India, tipping him to win the Player of the Tournament award in this year's Indian Premier League.
Ponting, an IPL title winner as a player and a coach, says Warner will relish captaining his IPL franchise once again this year, adding the opener would also do well if given another chance to captain his country at international level.
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After a short break back home following Australia's Test series in India, Warner returned to the subcontinent last week to captain Sunrisers Hyderabad to a season-opening win against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. That followed a disappointing Border-Gavaskar series, where he posted just one half-century and averaged 24 from eight innings in Australia's 1-2 defeat.
The left-hander made 14 in the tournament opener, his first IPL clash since he captained the Sunrisers to their maiden title last year in a season that saw him finish second only to Virat Kohli at the top of the run-scoring charts.
Ponting says the familiar environment of the Sunrisers and the extra responsibility of captaining the side will help Warner rediscover the form that saw him average more than 50 in the tournament last year.
"On the back of a slightly disappointing Test series, he's back at a championship-winning team and he's captain," Ponting told cricket.com.au. "I think he loves that responsibility.
"And he's an opening batsman. You'd think the Player of the Tournament is going to be a spinner or an opening batsman.
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"That's the way the T20 game is right now, so I think Davey will be Player of the Tournament.
"You always like to go into any tournament with a lot of runs under your belt, but to me Davey is the sort of guy that it won't bother too much.
"He's back into a really comfortable environment ... and they've brought in a couple of really good inclusions player-wise as well.
"And I think the fact that it's T20 cricket, against the white ball and on very good pitches that you get in India, I'm sure he'll have another good tournament."
Ponting witnessed Warner's stunning IPL campaign last year from close quarters; as coach of the Mumbai Indians, he watched the left-hander hammer scores of 90no and 48 against his side as he tallied nine half-centuries from 17 matches during the tournament.
The two-time World Cup-winning skipper also saw Warner's rapid development as a captain, which was followed by a stint as Australia's ODI and T20 skipper in Sri Lanka in place of the rested Steve Smith.
And Ponting says Warner is ready to handle the step up to international level again, if given another opportunity.
"He's a strong character ... and you need to be very strong in your beliefs (to captain in the IPL)," Ponting said.
"You need those Indian players and everyone else to be on the same page and heading in the same direction and I'm pretty sure Davey would have demanded that of his players last year.
"And if he gets more of an opportunity to captain Australia like he has done, I'm sure he'll do a good job as well.
"The way he played last year, having coached against him a few times, he was just about the standout performer. Virat was unbelievably good, but Davey wasn't far behind.
"And to be fair, the Sunrisers will need him again to play the way he did and lead the way he did.
"He was very impressive with his captaincy. You could see him on the field that he was very much like Smith. He's a couple of overs ahead of the game, marshalling his troops really well.
"And you can see that he's really passionate about it, the energy and the intensity was really coming out of him. That was great to see.
"It's great to see these young Aussie guys get a chance to lead their teams and more importantly do well."