With the India coach’s post lying vacant, and names such as Daniel Vettori and Stephen Fleming doing the rounds, Mumbai Indians coach Ricky Ponting has backed Rahul Dravid for the job.
“I guess it depends on what the BCCI are looking for. Do they want an overseas coach? Do they want an Indian coach? You are not going to find a better candidate than him (Rahul Dravid). If he is interested that is. Surely, he will do a good job. He has a lot of knowledge about the game and experience to back it. He knows all three formats of the game and has worked for the last five-six seasons in the IPL. He will be a great candidate. But, it is about what BCCI are thinking is the best fit for the Indian team at the moment and also what Virat Kohli wants,” said Ponting, during a coaching clinic involving Mumbai Indians.
Currently, Dravid is coaching the India U-19 team, which recently lost the World Cup finals to West Indies.
Talking about the possibility of coaching India, Ponting said spending time with family was his priority. “You never say never on opportunities like that. But I am happy with the couple of the jobs I have. I love coaching the Mumbai Indians. I have a young family and that will be the difficult thing about coaching with the time and sacrifice you have to make if you have to be coaching 10 to 11 months of the year. I will consider whether it is India or Australia,” he said.
Ponting also backed Mumbai’s Jasprit Bumrah to make the Test squad if given a chance.
“It is always hard to know if someone is ready for Test match cricket. If you look at the skills Bumrah has, then you will say he is ready to play with the way he has come along in the last 12 months. He was obviously the standout bowler in the World Cup and has been one of the standout bowlers in this IPL as well. To be fair, Bumrah hasn’t got as many wickets as Mitchell McClenaghan, but his slower balls, yorkers have been exactly where we wanted them to be.
“Bumrah has everything. He has an unusual action, he has pace and with the new ball he can get some momentum in the air. So if India are looking at someone to play Test cricket then Bumrah’s name I am sure will be on the selectors’ mind,” he said.
Ponting also backed day-night Tests. “I am a traditionalist as far Test cricket is concerned. I have always been apprehensive about changing the fabric of our Test match game. (But) I think in certain countries around the world Test cricket needs revitalisation. The game they played in Adelaide went off very well. I don’t think it necessarily has to be one or two day and night Test matches every summer. I wouldn’t like to see an Ashes Test being played as a day-night. India is also considering taking to the day-night concept. Test matches in India also need a kick as well, and with the amount of Test cricket coming up we will see what happens there.”