International Cricket

Ricky Ponting: You want ‘natural winners’ like David Warner at World Cups

Ricky Ponting believes David Warner will be missed for more than just the runs he scores when he brings the curtain down on his international career at the end of the T20 World Cup 2024.

Warner’s stage-by-stage retirement from Australia duty will be complete when the team’s campaign ends in the West Indies – barring an unlikely comeback in next year’s Champions Trophy – following his final Test against Pakistan at the SCG earlier this year.

He is coming into the World Cup on the back of a lean and injury-hit IPL for Delhi Capitals, where Ponting was the head coach, which coupled with Jake Fraser-McGurk’s blistering form was enough to have his spot talked about even though he was never going to be left out. Warner made a brisk half-century in the warm-up match against Namibia and has been backed to find form with another global trophy on the line.

If Australia do end up holding trophies in all three formats at the same time, Warner could be one of just four players – alongside Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Travis Head – to have played in all three finals.

“He’s the sort of character you want to have around your team, especially in big tournaments like World Cups,” Ponting told ESPNcricinfo from New York. “And he’s just one of those natural winners. Everything he does, he wants to win. You can see that with his attitude in the field and the way he goes about his cricket.

“So there’s more than just the runs that we’ll be missing when Warner finally is gone. But hopefully the depth of Australian cricket is good enough to find someone to come in and fill that void.”

In terms of replacing Warner, Ponting was confident that the “extreme talent” of Fraser-McGurk, who will be a traveling reserve during the World Cup, will soon slot in at the top of the order.

“It’s going to be really big set of shoes to fill, there’s no doubt about that. They have got a lot of depth there. I’d be very surprised if he [Fraser-McGurk] doesn’t go straight into the T20 team when David’s finally done. And for that matter, we saw Jake debut for Australia in the one-day stuff in the last Australian summer. I was lucky enough to coach him at the Delhi Capitals this year as well. He’s got extreme talent.”

In terms of the 15 players on duty for the T20 World Cup, where Australia’s campaign begins against Oman on Wednesday night, Ponting said they could achieve something “very special” by uniting three trophies across formats.

“It’s a really good group of players and it’s starting to get spoken about a little bit more,” he said. “Certainly, even internally, you hear a lot of the players in these current teams [are] actually recognising and talking about how lucky they are and what a special team that they know that they are playing in.

“When you are involved in a group like that, it’s really important that you make every post winner. So they have got an opportunity here in a T20 World Cup to do something really special. And I know they will leave no stone unturned to give themselves the best chance to do that. They have got some very experienced players on their side.

“They have got a few leaders in the side as well. Mitchell Marsh being the captain of this team and Pat Cummins obviously being the one-day and Test captain, and Pat’s just come off a pretty successful captaincy campaign with Sunrisers [Hyderabad] as well in the IPL. So they have got a lot of bases covered and they won’t want to let this opportunity slip knowing that it could be the last World Cup that a few of these guys play as well.”

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