Domain Test Series v Pakistan
Ponting wants WA rookie in Aussie squad for NZ Tests
Former captain Ricky Ponting says Australia should tweak their squad and call up rising star Cameron Green to face the Blackcaps
Martin Smith at the Adelaide Oval
2 December 2019, 10:20 AM AEST
Test great Ricky Ponting believes "the timing could be right" for uncapped 20-year-old Cameron Green to be elevated into Australia's Test squad as a reserve batsman for their upcoming Domain Test Series against New Zealand.
Ponting concedes handing Green a Test call-up would be a "left-field decision", but believes the young right-hander has proven himself with runs at domestic level and says he will benefit from spending time with the senior Australian team.
A genuine allrounder who can bowl up to 140kph, Green is currently sidelined from bowling due to a back problem, but has peeled off scores of 87no, 121no, 6, 0 and 126 in his past five innings in the Marsh Sheffield Shield, moving up from No.9 in the order to hold his spot in WA's top six.
Ponting says Cameron Bancroft, the spare batter in Australia's squad for their Tests against Pakistan, should be dropped for the NZ series so he can work on his game at domestic level, which would open the door for Green.
"Cameron Green is probably the in-form batsman in the country," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
"It'd be a pretty left-field decision to make because he's been batting so low for WA. But he's not doing much wrong, he's an exciting talent, and maybe to just include him and have him around the squad and give him a taste of what it's like might not be a bad thing.
"He's very young and very raw, but what he's doing in Shield cricket suggests there's a whole lot of talent there with both bat and ball.
"He's someone we've got to keep an eye on for the next couple of years, and if we can fast-track him and get him into the set-up sooner rather than later, it wouldn't be a bad thing.
"The timing could be right. I know there's a great vibe around the team, the leadership side of things is really strong and culturally it's really strong. So to introduce someone new like that, a young guy, it would be a good time."
Ponting was quick to add he expects Australia will stick with the same top-six batters for the first Test against the Kiwis in Perth, meaning Green would only play in the case of an injury.
He also acknowledged the successful returns to Shield cricket this week of Victorian duo Will Pucovski and Nic Maddinson, who were in Test contention at the start of the summer, but conceded he's "not sure what the protocols are going to be around those guys" in regards to Test selection given they've recently taken time out of the game for mental-health reasons.
Green has long been touted as a player of the future and took a five-wicket haul on his first-class debut for Western Australia as an 18-year-old in 2017.
He's quickly developed an impressive bowling record for WA (28 wickets at an average of just 21.53), but he's taken his batting to a new level in the past month, highlighted by a match-saving double of 87 not out and 121 not out against Queensland.
Speaking to cricket.com.au last month, before the latest of Green's Shield hundreds, Ponting had flagged the 20-year-old as a player to watch this summer having already spoken with key figures in Australian cricket about the young allrounder.
"I had a good chat with Greg Chappell about him recently and … he reckons he's as good as any of our young batsmen in the country," he said.
"He just happens to be six-foot-five and can bowl 140-odd kilometres an hour.
"I spoke to the Tassie boys as well who played against him early in the season and they said he's the real deal with bat and ball.
"It's not just been that he made those runs (against Queensland), he batted for almost 350 balls.
"That's what batsmen do. That's not a No.8 going out and slogging a hundred at the end of the game. He's occupied the crease and batted for a long period of time. They are really good signs."
Released from Test duty this week, Bancroft posted scores of 12 and 23 in WA's Shield match in Perth and has now been caught down the leg side off a fast bowler – either by leg slip, leg gully or the wicketkeeper – in five of his past six Shield innings.
Ponting says the manner of Bancroft's dismissals indicates he needs to work on his game away from the Test squad.
"I think Bancroft needs to have an extended run at some Shield cricket and try and work some deficiencies out," he said.
"There's obviously something technically wrong there that he's got to work on.
"I know he has been working hard on his game because I watched him up close and personal during the Ashes, but there's obviously some other things that are going wrong."
Domain Test Series v New Zealand
Second Test: December 26-30, MCG (Seven, Fox & Kayo)
Third Test: January 3-7, SCG (Seven, Fox & Kayo)