Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting expects his country’s pace-bowling stalwart Mitchell Starc and leg-spinner Adam Zampa to do the star turn when the ODI World Cup is held in India later this year. Starc, 33, was in sublime form during the three-match ODI series against India recently picking up eight wickets, including a five-for in the third game at Visakhapatnam, as the visitors won the series 2-1. The tall quick made India’s T20 specialist middle-order batter Suryakumar Yadav look like a sitting duck, dismissing him for nought in the first two fixtures. Zampa, after being ignored for the four-Test Border-Gavaskar series, also packed a punch in ODIs, grabbing four wickets in the third game at Chennai as Australia won the decider by 21 runs.
“It’s the overall package of Mitchell Starc. He’s six-foot-five, bowls in the high 140-km per hour, he’s a left-armer and he swings the new ball back in as Suryakumar found out (during the ODI series),” Ponting said on the ICC Review on Tuesday.
The tall quick had claimed the most scalps at the 2019 World Cup, after sharing the honour with New Zealand’s Trent Boult in the 2015 edition.
“When he’s on song, he’s as good as anyone in the world and has been for a long time. For lots of strange reasons, there has always been people willing to sit back and take potshots at Mitchell Starc for some of his performances. But if you have a cold hard look at the facts, particularly in white-ball cricket, his numbers are absolutely outstanding,” added Ponting.
“He’s shown in that series (against India) just how dangerous he can be with the new ball, regardless of the conditions.” Zampa was visibly disappointed after being given a cold shoulder by selectors for the Border-Gavaskar series, but on his return for the ODIs, the 31-year-old showed how big a threat he can be in Indian conditions, taking four wickets in the ODIs and restricting India to only 4.88 runs an over.
The tweaker has surged to the top of the wicket-takers list in the World Cup Super League, with 41 scalps in 18 matches at an average of 19.73.
“He’s probably been Australia’s key bowler in all white-ball cricket for a long time, along with Mitchell Starc,” Ponting said.
“Starc has been great but Adam Zampa for four or five years now has been a real revelation. He’s been the backbone of the Australian bowling attack which probably led to him being a little bit disappointed not to be picked on a Test tour to India.
“But he’s an outstanding performer. For a leg-spinner to become a very, very consistent performer, it’s very rare that teams get on top of him and get hold of him. He’s going to be one of Australia’s trump cards (for ODI World Cup) for sure,” added Ponting.
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