Ricky Ponting, one of T20 cricket’s preeminent minds, believes Tim David could win Australia the T20 World Cup should he be selected in the reigning champions squad for this year’s tournament.
David is yet to debut for Australia despite setting the global T20 circuit alight over the past few years with his finishing prowess.
The 26-year-old middle-order power-hitter is currently the format’s third-highest run-scorer worldwide this year with 1002 at an incredible strike rate of 183.51 and finished the Indian Premier League’s as the tournament’s leading striker among batters to have faced more than 25 balls (186 runs at a strike rate of 216.27 from eight matches).
Ponting, who has recently taken over as head of strategy at David’s Hobart Hurricanes, said the way David had transformed his game over the past few seasons had been “quite remarkable”.
“If I was a selector, I’d love to have someone like that in my team,” said Ponting after announcing Jeff Vaughan as the Hurricanes’ new men’s coach alongside assistants James Hopes and Darren Berry.
“He’s an out and out match-winner.
“He’s the sort of player that could actually win you a World Cup, he’s not just the average run of the mill guy that might just sneak into a squad.
“He actually reminds me a bit of Andrew Symonds back in the 2003 (ODI) World Cup.
“You know that if you get them in and give them an opportunity that they’re a chance of winning a tournament for you.
“That’s how I’d be looking at him right now and I know there’s some other quality players in the middle-order for Australia but probably none of them boasts a resume as good as Tim’s over the last two years.”
David declared last week he wants to be part of Australia’s title defense at this year’s World Cup should a spot open up in their line-up, but with time running out before the tournament gets underway in October, he would need to be named in the squad before making his debut for the country.
Such a situation is not unprecedented though, with reserve wicketkeeper Josh Inglis a member of last year’s World Cup-winning squad in the UAE before his eventual international debut against Sri Lanka in February this year.
Australia have T20 series in India in mid-September and two at home in October – against West Indies and England – before their World Cup campaign gets underway on October 22, but squads need to be submitted to the ICC about a month prior to the tournament .
But Ponting doesn’t think that should hold chief national selector and former teammate George Bailey back.
“(David’s) a very, very good and very dangerous T20 player that I’m sure the Australian selectors are thinking long and hard about for the World Cup in a couple of months’ time,” the 168-Test great said.
“It was only a couple of seasons ago that he was struggling to get a game in the Perth Scorchers line-up.
“He’s been incredible in almost every tournament he’s played around the world in the last 12 to 18 months.
“He’s obviously one player that we are extremely excited about (and) I think there’s a chance for him to take on a bit more responsibility in the batting line-up with the Hurricanes this season.
“Because of his consistency and match-winning ability we don’t want to waste that and have him sitting on the sidelines too long.”
Another player that could get Hurricanes fans excited is Australian opener David Warner, whose name was brought up at the new coaching panel’s first strategy meeting on Thursday night.
Warner, who hasn’t played in the Big Bash in eight years, played under Ponting at the Delhi Capitals during this year’s IPL where he moved into third place on the competition’s all-time leading run-scorers list behind Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan.
The 35-year-old left-hander could potentially be available for the back end of KFC BBL|12 following the New Year’s Test in Sydney after South Africa withdrew from the three-match ODI series in January owing to a clash with their own domestic T20 league.
“We’ll keep pursuing these (Australian) guys,” Ponting said.
“There’s other gaps in our squad that are probably more pressing than a top-order batsman – we’ve already got (D’Arcy) Short, (Matthew) Wade, (Ben) McDermott.
“But if we’re able to land someone like David Warner in our squad… we could bat him pretty much anywhere; he’s batted in different slots in T20 cricket in the past.”
Having been used earlier in the innings by Lancashire in the recent T20 Blast season, new Hobart coach Vaughan also flagged a shift in how the Hurricanes might use their ace finisher in David.
“It may not necessarily be a number where he bats, it will probably be a time of the game where we will want to inject him or want him to be facing balls,” Vaughan said.
“Largely, the best players are the best players whether they’re batting at one, two, five or six and clearly Tim has shown that he’s an exceptional T20 cricketer … and I’m really excited to be able to work with him.”