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Ashes 2019 | Ponting Urges Khawaja to take Aggressive Route

Cricketnext Staff |July 31, 2019, 3:19 PM IST
Ashes 2019 | Ponting Urges Khawaja to take Aggressive Route

Talented top order batsman Usman Khawaja has won his race against time to get fit for the first Ashes Test beginning August 1 at Edgbaston, and former captain Ricky Ponting believes an aggressive approach will help him score more runs.

Ponting, one of the best batsmen Test cricket has seen, made the crucial No.3 position his own, aggregating 9904 in 196 innings with an aggressive mindset well symbolised by his trademark pull shots and free-flowing drives.

“I think when he's (Khawaja) scoring quite freely, he's a much better player, and that's going to be the challenge for him again here," Ponting told cricket.com.au.

"The English quicks will have some pretty good plans for him and he's just got to take it on a little bit more and impose himself on the contest a little bit more. If he does that, I'm sure he’ll play well.”

Khawaja did not have the best series against India last summer, scoring 198 runs in eight innings. Ponting believes that a counter-attacking style would have probably worked better. “He probably wasn’t at his best in that India series back at home,” Ponting said.

“Talking to him about it, he probably went back into his shell a little bit. He knew how they were going to bowl, and he probably just didn't put enough pressure back on the bowlers. He sort of sat and tried to wait on them and they were just too good most of the time."

Khawaja improved his performance against Sri Lanka, as he scored a fluent 101* at a strike rate of 74.26. Ponting praised the 32-year old's technique but pointed out that it gets a bit exposed if he takes the defensive route.

“I’ve not got enough good things to say about Usman as a player,” Ponting said.

“I think he's a very classy player. I don't think anyone ever questions his technique when he's playing well. It’s just when he gets that little bit defensive that his technique starts to be shown up a fraction. But when he's moving his feet and he's out hitting the ball, I think his technique is really good."

England has always been unfriendly to Australian batsmen and this time it is unlikely to be any different. Ponting, though, was confident that the New South Wales cricketer would excel as a batsman this time around, unlike in 2013 when he managed 114 runs in six innings.

“I know he's got most of his runs in Australia, [but] that breakthrough couple of Tests he had against Pakistan in the UAE [last October], that showed a lot of class. If there was ever a question over him, it was a question [about] playing against spin bowling. So he's changed and rectified that.

“Now he’s got to find a way to score runs in tough conditions here in England, but I'm pretty confident he can do it.”

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