Ponting looking forward to bouncy, fast pitch at Optus Stadium
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting is delighted to see Test cricket returning to Perth after a two season hiatus.
Optus Stadium last hosted a Test match in 2019, missing out against India in 2020/21 before last summer’s Ashes clash was moved to Hobart due to the state’s pandemic border controls.
Ponting, who scored 27,483 international runs across formats over a career spanning nearly twenty years, is excited by reports suggesting as much as 11 millimetres of live grass will be left on the pitch, encouraging pace and bounce for fast bowlers.
“I love the nature of Test match cricket in Perth because of the conditions,” Ponting told Sports Breakfast.
“You get to see the really fast, bouncy wickets, and that’s why I loved playing at the WACA so much, it was certainly unique as far as most other cricket venues around the world can’t produce a wicket like that.
“It’s a unique place to play, it’s also a very difficult place for visiting teams to play as well, and certainly for the West Indies starting their tour over in Perth is not going to be easy.”
Ponting expects the Caribbean pace battery led by veteran Kemar Roach, who famously forced him to retire hurt after pinning him on the elbow at the WACA Ground in the 2009, to enjoy the conditions.
“Kemar now is more of a medium pacer line and length type operator that’s had great success throughout his career, it’s fantastic to think someone who bowled at his pace early on can still be playing 13 years later,” he said.
“Alzarri Joseph looks like a real prospect as far as I’m concerned, tall, lean, bowls nearly a hundred and fifty [kilometres] an hour.
“Jason Holder is the other one that I think will be a real handful on that wicket, because he’s nearly seven feet tall, gets good out swing to the right handers, and obviously gets excessive bounce.
While ‘Punter’ believes Pat Cummins’ side will comfortably account for the visitors, he’s hoping for a competitive contest.
“Let’s just hope that the West Indies can put on a good show, especially for the first Test match of the summer,” he said.
“The worst thing that could happen is they rock over to Perth and they get rock and rolled in two or three days, that would be a nightmare start to the Australian summer.”