Former skipper Ricky Ponting has said that Australia wouldn't be physically drained before the much-awaited Ashes later this year. With the Aussie side scheduled to play just a one-off Test against Afghanistan, Ponting feels Tim Paine's men are 'better off going into the Ashes' with fewer Tests.
The Australians will start their Ashes defense at the Gabba in Brisbane from December 8 and continue with a Day-Night test in Adelaide beginning eight days later.
“I honestly don’t think it matters that much,” Ponting said. “If they get a bit of first-class cricket in and they get that one Test match in against Afghanistan, are you better off going into the Ashes series with not a lot or going in with a lot (of Tests)?
“Ashes series are so physically and mentally draining; you might be better off going in with less. But it doesn’t matter what you’re going in with, it’s about what you do in those big moments, as we saw with the India series," said Ponting in an interview with cricket.com.au.
Ponting also backed Travis Head to make a return to the Test fold, saying the left-hander needs to bat in the middle-order to make the most of it. Ponting, who led Australia to two World Cup victories, also weighed in on Marcus Harris' chances of making the cut.
“I think Travis will play some more (Test cricket). I think that’s probably his slot in the middle order now, so let’s hope he can make the most of it.
“Marcus Harris is someone who can bat there as well. I don’t think he needs to open. If he shows that he’s good enough and scores enough runs in domestic cricket as an opener, I think he can easily bat in the middle order," he said.
“I think they’ve just got to work on who their best player is and if it’s Harris, if it’s Head, if it’s Henriques work out who it is and give them a chance there.
“That probably just going to come down to the weight of runs. Out of those three guys, I think one of them will be batting in the middle.”