Ricky Ponting has questioned whether Australia can afford to pick Pat Cummins for their do-or-die clash with Afghanistan at the T20 World Cup, suggesting Cameron Green would be a better option.
Australia need a monster win at Adelaide Oval on Friday night to boost their net run-rate to be guaranteed of jumping above England into second place in Group 1.
New Zealand, England and Australia are all on five points with one match to play, while Sri Lanka are just behind on four points, with only the top two teams advancing to the semi-finals.
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The Aussies are currently sitting in third place because of their poor net run-rate, which took a beating after they were thrashed by New Zealand by 98 runs in the opening match.
If England beat Sri Lanka and Australia take down Afghanistan, the Aussies would need a huge winning margin to overtake the Poms.
Questions remain over Australia's XI for the must-win clash, with captain Aaron Finch and big-hitting batter Tim David in doubt with hamstring concerns.
But even if Finch is declared fit to play, Ponting has floated the idea of Cummins making way for all-rounder Green to make his first appearance of the tournament.
Cummins hasn't been particularly effective with the ball lately, and also dropped a crucial catch against Ireland that cost the Aussies a chance to improve their net run-rate even further.
"If they are thinking about a quick going out, and this is going to be a tough decision for the selectors, but if they are thinking about that then maybe it is Cummins that goes out and Green comes in," the 168-Test legend told reporters at the MCG on Thursday.
"There's been some negativity around around Pat, but these guys quite often are bowling all the hard overs. When you're bowling up front and bowling at the death, you've got to be expected to go for a few more runs."
Ponting believes Cummins is the odd man out, with fellow quicks Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood doing enough to secure their spots.
"I think it's been a really good ploy for Starc to not open the bowling, his record in the last 12 or 18 months with the new ball is less than flattering," Ponting said.
"What they've done with using him outside the first couple of overs and through the middle has actually worked a treat."
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Ponting's former teammate Mark Waugh has also previously called for Green to replace Cummins.
"We look so far off the pace it's not funny," Waugh told RSN radio earlier in the tournament.
"I think the selectors have been very, very conservative for the last six months. It's time to grow some kahunas I reckon. I'd bring Cameron Green in and I'd bring him in for Pat Cummins, and I'd let Cameron Green open the batting.
"That's the one change I would definitely make. I know it's a bit of a gamble, it leaves your bowling a bit short. But I think Cameron Green can bowl four overs as good as any of the other bowlers at the moment."
Australia could conceivably be knocked out even if they win and England also prevail, depending on the margins of victory in each match.
Australia and England will both miss out if they each suffer losses, with Sri Lanka leapfrogging them. But Australia will be secure their semi-final place if they win and England lose.
"If they don't make it through there'll be some questions asked, I'm sure, because I had them in the top-three coming here," Ponting said.
"No one gave Australia a chance in the last one over in the UAE, in conditions that didn't suit but then we're home in our home conditions that all of these guys have been brought up in and played a lot of cricket.
"There can't be any excuse as far as preparation is concerned."
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