Not sure why England bothered picking Woakes when they had Wood: Ponting

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18 Dec 2021 | 02:56 AM staff

Not sure why England bothered picking Woakes when they had Wood: Ponting

Ponting was also critical of Broad and Anderson for bowling ‘safe’ lengths

Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting believes England blundered by opting to pick Chris Woakes over Mark Wood in Adelaide, and is of the opinion that picking Wood would have not only added more pace and variety to their attack, but enabled Ben Stokes to operate in a more conventional manner.

Woakes got the nod due to the pink-ball factor and Wood’s workload concerns, but the right-armer finished with figures of 1/103, conceding at nearly 4.50 runs an over. He was, in particular, taken apart in the final session of Day 2, when the Aussie tail-enders smashed him into oblivion. 

Talking to, Ponting claimed that he doesn’t know why ‘England bothered picking Woakes’ in Adelaide.

"Woakes was ineffective again – I'm not sure why they bothered picking him in Adelaide when they've got Wood there,” Ponting told

"To me Wood would have given them a lot more variation in their attack and then Stokes could have pitched it up and bowled like a normal seamer, which he's good at, and Wood could have taken the role Stokes had.

"That's up for them – they've got their own think tank and the ways they think about the game and what they want to get out of their players.

"But it looked like after Plan A didn't work, they didn't have much after that."

Adelaide saw the return of veterans Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, but after a threatening new ball spell on the first day, the duo were largely unthreatening. Both bowlers managed to keep things tight, but did not create as many chances as Root would have hoped for.

Ponting reckoned that there was a stubbornness from both the seamers to bowl risk-free lengths, and claimed that both Anderson and Broad showed an unwillingness to change.

"It can also be stubbornness from the bowlers and the unwillingness to change – that's what it looked like from Broad and Anderson with the new ball yesterday," said Ponting.

"It was like, 'No we'll run in and bowl back-of-a-length, bowl tight, not give them any runs and we'll strike and before you know it they'll be three or four down with the scoreboard not going anywhere'.

"Well. it didn't happen and it doesn't happen very often against good players.”

England did not bowl full in order to keep things tight, but Ponting brought up the example of Glenn McGrath and revealed how he would keep the mid-on and mid-off fielders straight when he bowls full, in order to give himself more protection. 

"One simple thing we used to do with Glenn (McGrath) when he wanted to pitch the ball up and attack the stumps was instead of having your mid-on and mid-off in really tight and really wide, you drag your mid-on and mid-off straighter and deeper and give them the confidence they're not going to get hit back down the ground again.

"England all day yesterday had their mid-on and mid-off wide and tight. The bowler straightaway knows then they can't pitch it up.

"Just little things like that – I don't know if it's the bowlers doing that or the captain is doing it.

"The other side to look at it is, because the field is so tight, does that make the bowler bowl back of a length? Or is the fielder in that tight because the bowler is bowling back of a length and wants to save the one?"

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Australia vs EnglandEngland tour of Australia, 2021/22EnglandChris WoakesMark WoodStuart BroadJames AndersonBen StokesRicky Ponting

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