World Twenty20 Zone: Ricky Ponting reveals batting habits and assesses Alex Hales
'Hales has developed off-side attacking play to complement leg-side strengths...'
Last Updated: 28/03/14 10:12am
The former Australia skipper, who retired in 2012 with 41 Test hundreds to his name, stepped into the World Twenty20 Zone net to give an exclusive insight into his game.
Click on the video above for a taster of the methods and habits of the legend, find out why he kept a list by him the night before he batted - and what was on it - and how he'd come up with plans to bash the bowlers.
'Punter' also explains how he played the pull shot with such authority while Dominic Cork spells out just how important it was for bowlers to hit a great length.
Ponting, 39, also gave his assessment of Alex Hales' match-winning hundred in England's crucial six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the ICC World Twenty20 game in Chittagong.
Hales became England's first T20 century-maker by helping himself to six sixes in a stunning, unbeaten 64-ball knock of 116 that powered Stuart Broad's side past Sri Lanka's 189-4.
Ponting told the World Twenty20 Zone that he's impressed with how Hales' batting continues to develop.
"When he came out to Australia for the Big Bash this summer, he was the number one ranked T20 player in the world," he reflected.
"We've seen a lot of his leg-side strengths but we hadn't seen a lot of his strengths on the off-side and I think he's developed that part of his game really well.
"There aren't many players who can hit a six over extra cover as he did and he finished off the game exceptionally well, with a couple of huge sixes."
Hales shared a brutal third-wicket stand of 152 with Eoin Morgan (57) in 15.2 overs after England lost the early wickets of Michael Lumb and Moeen Ali, climbing into Ajantha Mendis in the 15th over of the innings and harvesting 25 off the over (1-6-2-6-6-4).
"This is an example of two pretty experienced guys at the crease talking their way through their partnership," said Ponting. "I'm sure they were waiting for a couple of guys to come back at the end of the innings to really target them.
"They knew that Angelo Mathews was going to have to bowl an over somewhere in the last three or four overs and as it turned out it was the last over of the game.
"This was a game-changing moment - they took 25 off the Mendis over and got England right back into having a serious sniff of winning the game."
With England needing 34 runs off the final three overs - and Hales in sight of his hundred (94no) and Bopara yet to face a ball - Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal opted to call back his major weapon, paceman Lasith Malinga, and gave him a strong off-side field.
Ponting said it was a difficult bowling change to call - but also a risky strategy.
"It's a tough one because if they win the game you say it's the right decision, if they lose the game then we probably sit here saying it's the wrong decision," said the Australian.
"But I think bowling your best bowler out that early in the innings is a risk. I know what they were trying to achieve - they were trying to close the game out but with that many overs left it's hard to do that in the modern game.
"Malinga's strength has always been to bowl his yorkers at the stumps - he aims to hit the base of the stumps. He's gone away from what comes natural for him - having three guys out on the off-side boundary isn't necessarily in his game-plan at all. Two boundaries off the first couple of balls really gave England a sniff."
He added: "Dinesh Chandimal is a relatively young captain but Malinga has been around for ever and I know as a captain that you need your bowler to have some sort of idea about what he wants to do, so don't be surprised if that change wasn't actually Malinga saying that.
"Although we haven't seen him do that much before, maybe he knows something about Bopara that we didn't."
Watch highlights of West Indies v Australia and India v Bangladesh on the ICC World T20 Zone show on Friday from 10pm on Sky Sports 2.