Veterans Nehra, Harbhajan in Dhoni-led Ponting's all-time IPL XI
Melbourne: Former Mumbai Indians coach Ricky Ponting on Saturday named ex-India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the captain of his all-time Indian Premier League (IPL) XI which also includes the likes of veterans Ashish Nehra and Harbhajan Singh.
Ponting, who guided Mumbai Indians to the title in the 2015 season as coach, has Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper David Warner as the lone Australian in the team.
The opening slot in Ponting's team is occupied by West Indian Chris Gayle, who has over the years produced several destructive knocks in the cash rich league. Giving him company is Warner, who finished the 2016 season as the second highest run-getter in the league and also captained Hyderabad to their maiden title.
"I've gone for two extremely dynamic opening batsmen and I wouldn't like to be an opening bowler bowling to these two together. Chris Gayle's record speaks for itself; he averages about 42, strikes at over 150 and his longevity in the game is unbelievable," Ponting was quoted as saying by cricket.co.au.
"Dave Warner's... (IPL) average is about 40 so his consistency is really good, and he's striking at 141. (He and Gayle are) both left handers... so it'd be interesting trying to bowl to those two up front whether you're a spinner or a quick," he added.
The number three slot is occupied by RCB captain Virat Kohli, who emerged the highest run-getter in 2016, scoring more than 900 runs in that campaign and is currently the second highest run-getter in the history of the league. At No.4 is Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma.
"I had the luxury of coaching Rohit at Mumbai for a couple of seasons. Whether it be fast bowling or spin, he plays them all well. And he's a deceptively big hitter as well for someone who's not of huge stature, and that's what you want in the middle order in your T20 team," he said.
At number five Ponting has placed IPL's highest run-getter ever, Suresh Raina followed by his wicketkeeper-batsman Dhoni at No.6.
"M.S. Dhoni is at No.6 and he'll also be the captain of my side. He brings huge experience and whenever he's at the crease... you're always a chance of winning the game," Ponting said.
At number seven, Ponting has chosen the West Indian all-rounder, Dwayne Bravo, who with his change of pace and lower order hitting, made it a habit to win matches for now-suspended Chennai Super Kings.
The two spinners in Ponting's team are Amit Mishra and Harbhajan Singh while Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga and Nehra are his frontline pace bowling options.
Ricky Ponting's all-time IPL XI: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain, WK), David Warner, Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Lasith Malinga, Ashish Nehra.