JILTED batsmen David Warner and Phil Hughes should be shown some love by Australian cricket selectors, former captain Ricky Ponting says.
Ponting believes Warner has learnt his lessons after off-field troubles, while he rates Hughes as the nation’s best young batting talent.
The ex-skipper says he’d pick both batsmen, and erratic quick Mitchell Johnson, for next month’s Ashes series opener in Brisbane.
Ponting says the treatment of Hughes, in particular, evidences what has gone wrong with Australian cricket.
“He is clearly our best young batsman in the country,” Ponting said.
“The guy knows how to bat. He knows how to score runs. And he’s just the sort of character that you love to have around your team.
“He would be somebody that I would give a spot in the order and let him go about making that his own … if you give him a bit of love and a bit of stability around his game, I’m sure he’ll come good.”
Ponting was critical of constant chopping and changing of Australia’s Test batting line-up.
Hughes, aged 24, has already been axed three times, Warner has also been dumped, and both have also been shifted up and own the batting order.
“I’d like to see the selectors pick who they believe their best six batsmen are for the first Test and then actually stick when them for the whole series,” said Ponting during a telephone interview to publicise his autobiography, At The Close Of Play.
“Give them a bit of confidence and a bit of security, knowing that they’re not playing for their spot each time they walk out on to the field.
“And then, at the end of the five Tests, if some of the batsmen haven’t done it, then it probably is time to move on and look for someone else.”
Warner, after punching England batsman Joe Root at a pub, was suspended for a month leading into the recent away Ashes series. He has also been disciplined for a Twitter tirade and, most recently, for missing a Sydney grade match.
“To me, some of the things that have happened have just been almost tell-tale signs of someone just under extreme pressure,” Ponting said.
“The thing about Davey, he hasn’t had a break from any cricket for about two years … and it’s such a high-pressurised environment, you need to be able to get away and let a bit of steam off here and there.
“Whenever he has tried to do that, he has got himself in a little bit of trouble.
“He would have learnt from that and it will make him a better person and hopefully a better cricketer.”