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Babar Azam features in Ricky Ponting’s top five World T20I players

Karachi, September 06, 2022: ICC Hall of Famer Ricky Ponting has chosen the five players he will select first if given the task of choosing a World T20I team.

Boasting a legendary record in white-ball cricket of his own, Ponting was also skipper of Australia for the first-ever men’s T20I, making 98* (55) in a match-winning performance.

Now spending a lot of his time in coaching dugouts and commentary boxes, Ponting watches as much T20 cricket as anyone and uses both roles to keep close tabs on the world’s best.

Speaking on the latest episode of The ICC Review, Ponting was asked to select the first five players he would choose for a World T20I team – and perhaps to the shock of some there is no Australian players in his quintet.

Rashid Khan (Afghanistan) – ICC T20I Bowling Ranking: 3

“Five players is relatively easy, but trying to put them in order from one to five makes it a little bit more difficult,” Ponting begins.

“I’ve actually gone with Rashid Khan at number one, and the reason I thought about that was if we actually had a player event in an IPL (Indian Premier League) auction now and there was no salary cap, he’s probably the one that’s going to go for the most amount of money.

“I’ve got him at number one for his consistency, his wicket-taking ability over a long period of time, but also the fact that his economy rate in the T20 game is just outstanding.

“When you’re playing against any team that he’s playing in you probably have less sleep that night than you do for any other game that you play during the year.”

Babar Azam (Pakistan) – ICC T20I Batting Ranking: 1

“Babar Azam I’ll go for at number two, simply because the number one ranked batter in the T20 game for quite a while now and deservedly so.

“His record speaks for itself. He’s pretty much led the way for that Pakistan team for the last couple of years.”

Hardik Pandya (India) – ICC T20I All-Rounder Ranking: 5

“On current form, it’s pretty hard to go past Hardik Pandya at number three.

“His IPL was outstanding. To see him back at the bowling crease is something that I was always a little bit unsure would actually ever happen … he’s had some really big injury setbacks, which has obviously affected how much he’s been able to play for India.

“But he’s back bowling, and at 140kph which he was doing four or five years ago. But his batting and his maturity while batting has come on in leaps and bounds.

“He understands the game better and he understands his game better than ever before and right now he’s probably the best allrounder in the world in T20 cricket, and could potentially be in ODI cricket.”

Jos Buttler – ICC T20I Batting Ranking: 16

“I had to pick Jos Buttler in there actually.

“When you’re coaching against him, you just know that he’s got something that a lot of other players don’t have; the ability to take the game away in a short period of time opening the batting – which he will do for England this tournament.

“He was one of the people who’s an out-and-out match winner as we saw with last year’s IPL, making three or four hundreds, which was quite remarkable.

“His batting went to another level in the last year or so.”

Jasprit Bumrah – ICC T20I Bowling Ranking: 37

“Jasprit Bumrah in at number five.”

“He is probably the most complete bowler across Test cricket, One Day cricket and T20 cricket in the world right now. Very good with the new ball when anyone decides to use him that way.

“India might think of giving him an over with the new ball in Australia (at the T20 World Cup) where it might swing but what you can guarantee is a couple of great high quality death overs, which every team is looking for – someone that can execute slow balls and bouncers.”

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