Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting praised Ben Stokes’ captaincy in the ongoing first Ashes Test match at the Edgbaston in Birmingham
Speaking to ICC Ponting said, “It’s hard to keep up with them all, he’s making a change almost every ball, which is great, it’s proactive captaincy. He’s always trying to move the game forward, he’s looking at any little way that he possibly can to pick up a wicket and change the momentum of the game.”
“You don’t see that every day. And that’s a sign of what’s to come, but also a sign of this change of attitude from the current England team,” he added.
There were speculations before the series if Stokes will play a similar Bazball style of cricket or if will there be a change in approach. “There was a lot of chat around ‘will Bazball stand up? Are they going to be courageous enough to play that way against the Australians?’,” Ponting said.
“Well, I think that question has been answered for us,” he noted.
“It’s certainly there, the way that they want to play, this bold new approach to Test match cricket, trying to make bold decisions at any stage in the game where they can.
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Khawaja played a splendid 141-run knock in the first innings for the Aussies however, Stokes’s innovative field and captaincy eventually got the southpaw out. “With Khawaja’s innings, I’d hate to try and count how many times he changed the field for him and how many bowling changes and tactical changes he made to try and get Khawaja out – and then it finally worked,” Ponting noted.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a field like that in Test cricket before. There was just an umbrella of fielders around in-front of the batsman’s face. And it was all about bowling a couple of slower balls and being able to bowl a yorker. And sure enough, Khawaja used his feet, gave himself some room, gave up his stumps, and the yorker knocked his off stump out of the ground,” he added.
Ponting further said, “It’s fantastic stuff. It’s really refreshing for the Test game to see a team play this way and a captain happy to try everything he possibly can.”