Ponting to put finishing touches on Carey’s middle order role

first_imgFORMER Australia captain Ricky Ponting will play an important role in nurturing one of Australia’s key players ahead of this year’s T20 World Cup.Australia’s limited overs vice-captain Alex Carey will link up with Ponting at IPL franchise Delhi Capitals in April, for what will be the keeper-batsman’s first taste of the world’s biggest T20 competition.Ponting presented Carey with his T20 cap two years ago and worked closely with the left-hander when he was Australia’s assistant coach at last year’s 50-over World Cup, a role the three-time Cup winner has flagged he would be keen to do again in the future.Having spent most of his domestic T20 career as an opener, Carey shifted down the order in the KFC BBL this year and has batted late in the innings for Australia in both one-day and T20 cricket in the past 12 months.Ponting’s franchise bought Carey for close to A$500 000 at the IPL auction and the 28-year-old expects to fill a similar middle-order role at Delhi in what would be an ideal tune-up ahead of the World Cup in October.“Delhi are really strong at the top with the openers and Rishabh Pant at number four so if there’s an opportunity, it’d be at five or six,” Carey said in Cape Town ahead of Australia’s departure to Bloemfontein for the second ODI against South Africa.“Which is great for me, if I can keep improving my game in the subcontinent.“I can’t wait to train against the spinners over there and chat to Ricky. I loved working with Punter (at the World Cup), he was fantastic. He’s really calm and he’s really clear with his messaging.“Delhi’s a nice spinning wicket so there’ll be some work to do when we get over there.“I can’t wait, even if I’m not playing, to just sit alongside him (Ponting) and chat cricket with him. I’ll probably hang out of his pocket for the few months that I’m there.”Speaking just days after December’s auction, Ponting explained why he had pushed so hard to sign the South Australian.“He’s a good player of spin, and he’s got such a good cricket brain and a sensible head on his shoulders that I feel he’ll be able to get us across the line in a lot of games,” Ponting said.Carey’s first challenge will be to beat out some of the best players in the world to simply win a spot in Ponting’s XI, with four international players permitted to play each game.In addition to Carey and countryman Marcus Stoinis, Delhi have England duo Jason Roy and Chris Woakes, South African quick Kagiso Rabada, West Indies blaster Shimron Hetmyer and Nepalese leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane on their list.Carey expects he’ll have to earn his spot purely as a batsman, with India’s star gloveman Rishabh Pant also in the squad along with local stars like Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Sharma and Shreyas Iyer.“I’d say (Pant) would get first crack at it,” Carey said when asked who would take the gloves. “He’s done pretty well before in the IPL.“I think they selected me for that number five and number six middle-order batting (role), that’s what they targetted.“I enjoy running around: try and have lots of energy and get the arm warm. My shoulder’s not too strong though.”Carey’s more immediate focus is today’s match against South Africa, with the Aussies needing a win to force a series-decider in Potchefstroom on Saturday.The vice-captain said the team had a short but “honest” review after their loss in the first ODI and that skipper Aaron Finch was quick to move on to the task of keeping the series alive.“We were pretty honest in the rooms afterwards,” he said. “Finchy doesn’t like to dwell too long on results like that but we need to take the learnings out of that game.“In a series like this with quite a short turnaround, I have no doubt we’ll respond really strongly.”last_img

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