New Zealand v Australia ODIs - Women's
Ponting's advice to record-chasing Aussies
With 21 consecutive wins to their name, Meg Lanning's Australian side can break the all-time ODI record against New Zealand on Sunday
2 April 2021, 12:59 PM AEST
Ricky Ponting has urged Australia's supreme women's team to tune out the hype of their world record attempt as they stand on the cusp of becoming arguably the greatest ODI team of all time.
Ponting says he sees the same traits in Meg Lanning's formidable 50-over team as he did in his all-conquering 2003 side that won 21 consecutive games, the world record which Australia will have the opportunity to surpass this Sunday in New Zealand.
The streak that has stood as the benchmark for international limited-overs dominance for nearly 18 years included Australia's undefeated 2003 World Cup tilt, yet their run spanned less than six months.
Australia's women, on the other hand, have gone more than three years without losing.
After equalling the 21-game record in October, they were denied the chance to break it on home soil after an Indian tour was cancelled during the home summer.
"Ricky Ponting is obviously a great of Australian and world cricket and they had an amazing team," Lanning told reporters on Thursday. "If we were able to break that record, it would be a great achievement for the group.
"Those wins have come over a long period of time as well; it hasn't been over a year or so, it's been a two or three-year block which I think shows we've had some really good consistency."
Ponting agreed the wait has made the achievements of the current side all the more impressive, but stressed the Matthew Mott-coached outfit should attempt to put the significance of the achievement to one side when they take on New Zealand in the Rose Bowl series opener in Mount Manganui on Sunday.
"I think it's obvious that Motty and the women have got an extremely hungry group of players," Ponting told cricket.com.au. "(Their streak) doesn’t happen without having a humble and hungry group of players.
"I think the girls would lead the way with their own attitudes and keep stretching how good they want to be and I'm sure they want to be regarded and remembered as one of Australia’s best sporting teams - male or female.
"Their performances for five or six years now certainly has backed that up.
"I guess they probably have had more of a chance to think about it than what we did. Ours seemed to happen quite quickly and we were playing games (in quick succession), but they’ve had a long time now sitting on this equal number of wins to think about it."
Ponting did advise that they should initially "get prepared for and talk about" the significance of this weekend's milestone match, but "when it gets close to the game, don't talk about it".
"Just get out there and play and do what they've been doing for so long," he continued. "Because it's obvious what they've been doing is working and working to a really high level.
"So that's all that I'd say to them, but I don’t think they need to hear anything from me, because they are a champion team with lots of champion players.
"I'm sure they'll get the job done when they get the chance."
When asked this week about the streak, Lanning was singing from the same hymn sheet.
"I don't think it will be front and centre of any of our discussions," said the 29-year-old, who idolised Ponting as a junior.
"Our approach doesn't change, we want to get out there and win every game.
"It has been a little while since we played ODI cricket together as a team so we need to adjust into that format over the next couple of games."
In addition to the "humble and hungry" spirit Ponting observed in both teams, the two record-breaking sides share a number of other similarities.
The 2003 side used 20 players during their win streak, while the 2018-21 team have used 21.
Both have featured outstanding fast bowlers (Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath for Ponting's men, Megan Schutt and Ellyse Perry for Lanning's women), as well as a singular dominant batter (Ponting and Lanning), a high-performing wrist spinner (Brad Hogg and Georgia Wareham) and an outstanding keeper-batter (Adam Gilchrist and Alyssa Healy).
Where the women's side differs, however, has been the presence of an all-time great allrounder (Perry has averaged over 60 with the bat and 19 with the ball during the streak) and a heavier reliance on slow bowling (Jess Jonassen, Ash Gardner and Wareham represent three of their top five leading wicket takers in that period).
Where Ponting's team was chock-full of experienced veterans (Michael Clarke was the only debutant during that period), there have been seven ODI debutants (Nicola Carey, Sophie Molineux, Tayla Vlaeminck, Erin Burns, Heather Graham, Annabel Sutherland and Wareham) over the past three years.
And - Lanning and her charges will need no reminding - Ponting's team were the reigning champions when they begun their run and then won a World Cup during it, while the 2017 semi-final defeat to India looms over the current Aussie team.
Having since lost just a solitary ODI – to England in Coffs Harbour – Australia will be out for redemption when the 2022 event is held in New Zealand.
"If you start getting too far ahead and thinking you're on this streak, we can't lose, then before you know it, you will lose," Ponting added.
"One of the things that I'm most proud of in my career is how (strong) Australia’s record is in World Cups, to go through those World Cups (Australia were also undefeated in 2007) … was pretty remarkable.
"That says that when the big moments come, we found players that would stand up under the most pressure and get the job done.
"The girls over this period as well have found themselves in trouble at some stage but someone just puts their hand up and turned it around for them."
CommBank tour of New Zealand 2021
Australia ODI & T20I Squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Molly Strano, Georgia Wareham, Belinda Vakarewa, Tayla Vlaeminck
New Zealand ODI squad: Sophie Devine (capt), Amy Satterthwaite (vice-capt), Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek - (games 2 & 3 only), Amelia Kerr, Jess Kerr, Frances Mackay, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin (wk), Hannah Rowe (game 1 only), Lea Tahuhu
1st T20: Australia won by six wickets
2nd T20: New Zealand won by four wickets
3rd T20: Play abandoned due to rain
All matches will be shown live in Australia on Fox Cricket and Kayo