International Cricket

‘Influence of someone like Punter is gold’: Langer hopes Ponting helps Maxwell regain form

The 29-year-old Maxwell managed just 169 runs in 12 IPL innings at an average of 14.

Australia coach Justin Langer admitted the form of Glenn Maxwell was a worry ahead of a one-day series against England but said he hoped Ricky Ponting’s arrival into his backroom staff would be a boost to the talented ball-striker. Former Australia captain Ponting will combine his work as a commentator on the upcoming five-match one-day international campaign with stints working alongside Langer.

Maxwell was twice dismissed in single figures by spinners during Australia’s warm-up matches against Sussex and Middlesex. Ponting was also Maxwell’s coach at the Delhi Daredevils during this year’s Indian Premier League Twenty20. But despite having one of Australia greatest batsmen in his corner, the 29-year-old Maxwell managed just 169 runs in 12 IPL innings at an average of 14.

The Daredevils fared little better, finishing bottom of the points table following five wins in 14 games. But there is no denying the ability of Maxwell, who has an ODI strike-rate of 123.

Asked, following Australia’s 101-run win over Middlesex at Lord’s on Saturday, if Maxwell was a worry, Langer answered: “He is. But that said I have been super impressed with Glenn Maxwell, his preparation has been literally outstanding. I would be very surprised if he doesn’t get a very big score very soon. There’s been a lot of talk about Glenn Maxwell but I have been incredibly impressed with the way he goes about his business and even the way he has been batting in the nets.”

Langer, appointed after fellow former Test batsman Darren Lehmann resigned as coach following the Australian ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in March, was sure Maxwell would eventually benefit from spending so much time with Ponting.

‘Absolute star’

“He has just had a couple of months with ‘Punter’ (Ponting) in the IPL, to have the influence of someone like Punter is gold. ‘Punter’ is joining us again tomorrow (Sunday), so if he (Maxwell) keeps preparing well and keeps trusting his preparation it is not far until he becomes an absolute star, I think. He’s got so much talent,” said Langer.

World champions Australia won their warm-up fixtures but failed to post a total of 300 when batting first in both games – a concern head of a series with 2019 World Cup hosts England that starts at The Oval on Wednesday.

Australia will want to atone for a 4-1 series loss at home to England, now number one in the ODI rankings, earlier this year.

But as well as being without two world-class batsmen in former captain Steve Smith and his deputy, David Warner, who both received year-long bans following the ball-tampering incident in Cape Town, Australia are also missing their injured Ashes-winning fast-bowling trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.

As a result, it will be a novice pace attack that confronts England, with Kane Richardson (15 ODIs) likely to be spearheading a bowling unit where Andrew Tye (four), Billy Stanlake (two), Jhye Richardson (one) and the uncapped Michael Neser will be vying for places.

Langer said Queensland’s Neser, who moved with his family to the Gold Coast from his native South Africa aged 10, should not be discounted just because he was summoned as Hazlewood’s replacement on the eve of a tour that also includes a lone Twenty20 international.

The 28-year-old Neser took three wickets in the two warm-up matches including a stunning reflex caught and bowled against Middlesex. “One I am really impressed with is Michael Neser,” said Langer.

Neser also played a key role as the Adelaide Strikers won last year’s edition of Australia’s Bash Twenty20 tournament and was Queensland’s leading wicket-taker in the domestic One-Day Cup. The coach added that Neser’s determined attitude made him think of two other former Queensland pacemen who had to battle hard to be selected for Australia.

“He reminds me a bit of Andy Bichel and Michael Kasprowicz. They’re just great people in the team, always smiling, and they just compete. He’s a really good person to have in the team, good competitor and could easily play in the first game.”

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Do you really need to use that plastic straw?

The hazards of single-use plastic items, and what to use instead.

In June 2018, a distressed whale in Thailand made headlines around the world. After an autopsy it’s cause of death was determined to be more than 80 plastic bags it had ingested. The pictures caused great concern and brought into focus the urgency of the fight against single-use plastic. This term refers to use-and-throw plastic products that are designed for one-time use, such as takeaway spoons and forks, polythene bags styrofoam cups etc. In its report on single-use plastics, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has described how single-use plastics have a far-reaching impact in the environment.

Dense quantity of plastic litter means sights such as the distressed whale in Thailand aren’t uncommon. Plastic products have been found in the airways and stomachs of hundreds of marine and land species. Plastic bags, especially, confuse turtles who mistake them for jellyfish - their food. They can even exacerbate health crises, such as a malarial outbreak, by clogging sewers and creating ideal conditions for vector-borne diseases to thrive. In 1988, poor drainage made worse by plastic clogging contributed to the devastating Bangladesh floods in which two-thirds of the country was submerged.

Plastic litter can, moreover, cause physiological harm. Burning plastic waste for cooking fuel and in open air pits releases harmful gases in the air, contributing to poor air quality especially in poorer countries where these practices are common. But plastic needn’t even be burned to cause physiological harm. The toxic chemical additives in the manufacturing process of plastics remain in animal tissue, which is then consumed by humans. These highly toxic and carcinogenic substances (benzene, styrene etc.) can cause damage to nervous systems, lungs and reproductive organs.

The European Commission recently released a list of top 10 single-use plastic items that it plans to ban in the near future. These items are ubiquitous as trash across the world’s beaches, even the pristine, seemingly untouched ones. Some of them, such as styrofoam cups, take up to a 1,000 years to photodegrade (the breakdown of substances by exposure to UV and infrared rays from sunlight), disintegrating into microplastics, another health hazard.

More than 60 countries have introduced levies and bans to discourage the use of single-use plastics. Morocco and Rwanda have emerged as inspiring success stories of such policies. Rwanda, in fact, is now among the cleanest countries on Earth. In India, Maharashtra became the 18th state to effect a ban on disposable plastic items in March 2018. Now India plans to replicate the decision on a national level, aiming to eliminate single-use plastics entirely by 2022. While government efforts are important to encourage industries to redesign their production methods, individuals too can take steps to minimise their consumption, and littering, of single-use plastics. Most of these actions are low on effort, but can cause a significant reduction in plastic waste in the environment, if the return of Olive Ridley turtles to a Mumbai beach are anything to go by.

To know more about the single-use plastics problem, visit Planet or Plastic portal, National Geographic’s multi-year effort to raise awareness about the global plastic trash crisis. From microplastics in cosmetics to haunting art on plastic pollution, Planet or Plastic is a comprehensive resource on the problem. You can take the pledge to reduce your use of single-use plastics, here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic, and not by the Scroll editorial team.