Ponting backs Australian turnaround

LONDON — Australia still has the best depth of any cricket nation, former skipper Ricky Ponting has said while backing it to turn around its poor One-Day International form in time to defend their World Cup title in England and Wales next year.

Five-time World Cup winners Australia was whitewashed 5-0 by host England in the ODI series which concluded last month, extending its poor ODI run having won only 16 of its last 18 matches.

“There are 16 one-dayers to be played between now and the next World Cup,” the 43-year-old said at a Channel Seven promotional event.

“I’ll guarantee you when you put the Australian group of 15 players down on a sheet of paper, that group will line up as good as any other team in the world.”

Ponting, who captained Australia in its 2003 and 2007 World Cup victories, said the ODI series against England helped young players to get some games and he believes the team will keep producing great players.

“One thing I do know is we’ve got still the best depth of any cricket nation in the world and I will continue to say that,” he added.

Ponting also supported coach Justin Langer who took over reins of the team in May this year.

“The environment Justin Langer will create around that team will be a place that everyone will just get better, they’ll just improve, they’ll love the environment,” he said.

“I’m really excited about what the future holds not just right now but for the next 20 years.”

Australia will host South Africa in November for three ODIs and one Twenty20 and will then host Virat Kohli-led India for three T20s, four test matches and three ODIs.

Herath ponders to quit

Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath might retire from international cricket after the three-match Test series against England in November, the left-arm spinner has said.

Herath has notched up 418 wickets in 90 test matches for Sri Lanka and is the country’s highest wicket-taker after Muttiah Muralitharan, who has a staggering 800 test wickets to his name.

“Maybe my final series will be the England series later in the year,” the 40-year-old told BBC Sinhala. “There comes a time for every cricketer, when they have to stop playing. I think that time has come for me.”

Herath, who retired from One-Day and Twenty20 Internationals in 2016, is in the squad for Sri Lanka’s two-match test series against South Africa, which kicks off on Thursday in Galle.

With spinners like Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dananjaya and Lakshan Sandakan in the national side, Herath believed Sri Lanka would be in good hands post his retirement.

Shehzad provisionally suspended over dope test

Pakistan batsman Ahmed Shehzad has been provisionally suspended and charged with violating anti-doping regulations after he tested positive for a prohibited substance in May, the country’s cricket board (PCB) has said.

The 26-year-old’s in-competition urine sample, which was collected during the domestic Pakistan Cup tournament in May, tested positive and an independent review board confirmed the result in June.

“He has been given till July 18 2018 to advise whether he wishes to have his B Sample tested and till July 27 to respond to the charges levelled in the Notice of Charge,” the PCB said in a statement on its website https://www.pcb.com.pk/press-release-detail/notice-of-charge-handed-out-to-ahmed-shehzad.html.

“The PCB has also provisionally suspended Ahmed Shehzad pending the outcome of the charges.”

Shehzad most recently played for Pakistan in the two-match Twenty20 series in Scotland in June. — Agencies