Ricky Ponting: A Pivotal T20 World Cup for Cricket’s Growth in the USA

Ricky Ponting, former Australian Captain, has advised teams and batters to “lower expectations” regarding high totals for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2024 in light of the record-breaking 200-plus scores witnessed during IPL 2024.

Ponting anticipates that pitches in the West Indies, co-hosting the 20-team tournament with the USA, will “slow down” as the tournament progresses, particularly during the Super Eights and knockout stages.

Ricky Ponting: A Pivotal T20 World Cup for Cricket’s Growth in the USA
Ricky Ponting: "You wanted to finish the IPL with a total of 240. That most likely won't be the case for the opening round of the competition in New York •Saikat Das/BCCI

Sri Lanka’s Struggle in New York: A Case in Point

Ponting’s comments follow Sri Lanka’s dismal performance, bowled out for their lowest T20I total of 77 against South Africa in New York. South Africa’s pace attack, spearheaded by Anrich Nortje’s career-best 4 for 7, dominated the match, which featured a staggering 127 dot balls – a record for a men’s T20 World Cup game.

Balancing Expectations: Entertainment vs Realistic Scores

Nortje emphasized that “you don’t need 20 sixes” for an entertaining game. Heinrich Klaasen, who anchored South Africa’s chase, noted the necessity for a blend of Test and ODI skills to navigate the unpredictable pitch conditions.

Ponting’s Insight on New York’s Pitches

Ponting highlighted the influence of New York’s day game conditions, where swing and seam movements were prominent. He suggested that batters adjust their strategies and temper expectations on achieving IPL-like scores of 240. “It’s probably not going to be that for the first part of the tournament here in New York,” Ponting remarked, indicating a set of different challenges for the players.

The Ambitious New York Venue: A Fresh Challenge

The ICC’s ambitious project of creating a cricket stadium from scratch in New York involved hiring Adelaide Oval’s head curator, Damian Hough, to prepare drop-in pitches. Despite the challenges, the venue hosted its first match between India and Bangladesh on June 1.

Also Read: T20 World Cup Winners List from 2007 to 2023

During the T20 World Cup, New York will host eight of the 16 matches, including the high-profile India vs. Pakistan game on June 9. All matches are scheduled as day games, further influencing playing conditions.

Adjusting to the New Normal

Ponting pointed out that the pitches might initially favor bowlers, contrasting sharply with the run-fests seen in IPL. “The first game [between Sri Lanka and South Africa] was probably just a little bit swayed in the bowler’s favour,” he said, urging teams to adapt to the conditions.

India captain Rohit Sharma echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the need to balance and adjust to the different playing conditions. “It’s certainly not going to be IPL kind of scores here. We are very mindful of that,” Sharma said.

High Expectations from IPL to World Cup Reality

Ponting reflected on the extreme high scores in IPL, mentioning a particular game where Kolkata Knight Riders scored 272 against Delhi Capitals. He noted that such scores were driven by the impact player rule and outstanding pitch conditions, a stark contrast to the upcoming World Cup venues.

West Indies Pitches: Potential Slowdown Toward Tournament End

Ponting anticipates that pitches in the West Indies might slow down as the tournament progresses, especially in venues that haven’t hosted cricket for months. “The wickets will probably start really good in the Caribbean, and they might start to slow down towards the back end of the tournament,” Ponting observed, highlighting the need for teams to adapt continuously.

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