Ricky Ponting has castigated the West Indies for failing to qualify for the Twenty20 World Cup’s Super 12 stage and raised concerns about their quality as an opponent for the opening two Tests of the summer in Australia.
“It’s a disgrace,” Ponting said at the SCG on Saturday before the opening match of the main draw, a sellout between Australia and New Zealand. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s really so bad for their cricket.”
Unbeaten in a Test series for from 1980 to 1995, the current group of Caribbean cricketers lost two of their three qualifying matches over the past week, to Scotland and Ireland, beating only Zimbabwe.
Qualifiers Sri Lanka, Netherlands, Zimbabwe and Ireland earned a place in the Super 12 with two wins from three matches.
“They’ve got too much talent in that team and in the West Indies cricket not to be able to make it through to the next stage of a World Cup,” said Ponting, who was attending a reunion of former Australian World Cup-winning players as a dual title-winning captain in the 50-over events in 2003 and 2007.
“Even one of their main players (Shimron Hetmyer) not making it to the flight to get over here for a World Cup to me sums up probably how little these events mean to the West Indies players.
Ireland celebrate their big win against the West Indies.Credit:Getty
“If you look at the way that they played you’d say the same thing … they’re much better players than what we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks.
“No doubt there’ll be some soul-searching done when they get back (home) and I reckon the next series they play there’ll be a lot of different faces in the side because the guys they’re going with now are certainly not getting the job done.”
The West Indies are due to kick off the Australia Test summer with matches in Perth and Adelaide, beginning in little more than a month, and return again next season for more Tests, but Ponting fears they will be uncompetitive.
“I was [concerned] anyway, to be honest,” Ponting said. “I didn’t need to see that to make me more worried about the first couple of Test matches, but interestingly they’ve actually found a way, mainly at home in the last few years, to be reasonably competitive on the Test front.”
The West Indies’ last Test series was a 1-0 win at home against England from two matches, however Ponting said Australian conditions were very different to the slow, low pitches in the Caribbean.
“They’re going to have to find a few legs if they’re going to compete against the Aussies with the current group that the Australians have got,” he said. “If you just line them up on paper there’s no way you think that they could compete.”
Cricket Australia believes the Windies’ recent Test record offers hope of competitive matches, pointing to their recent defeat of England.
“They’ve had some good Test results recently,” a Cricket Australia spokesman said. “They won’t be a pushover.”
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