Play Harbhajan patiently: Chappell to Ponting

Former Australian skipper Ian Chappell has asked Ricky Ponting to play his nemesis Harbhajan Singh with patience in the next month's Test series.

updated: September 19, 2008 10:19 IST
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As Ricky Ponting grapples to find a way out of Indian spinners' stranglehold over him before next month's Test series. Former Australian skipper Ian Chappell has offered him a simple solution for the problem - Patience.

Ponting, who has over 10,000 Test runs under his belt at an average of 58, has always been miserably out of form in India, scoring a mere 172 runs in eight Tests at an average of 12.28.

Harbhajan Singh has been his nemesis on most occasions and Ponting is yet to find a way to deal with the fiery off-spinner.

Chappell feels the reason why the Aussie skipper has never been comfortable against spin is his impatience.

"Playing good spinners has always been Ponting's Achilles heel. He tends to push out at the ball when defending rather than letting the ball come to him," Chappell was quoted as saying by 'The Herald Sun'.

"Good players of spin reach out to smother the spin in attack, but in defence let the ball come to them. Ponting has been dismissed for so many low scores, he hasn't found a method that will allow him to survive this danger period," he added.

Chappell said the only way Ponting can succeed against spinners is by incorporating a solid defence into his technique which relies too heavily on attacking the opposition.

"Ponting's desire to dictate gets him into a bit of trouble in India. He hasn't displayed the patience required at the start of an innings when you are facing good spinners in India.

"Adjusting to playing good spin bowling in India is the toughest challenge facing an Australian batsman," Chappell said.

Chappell advised Ponting to wait for the ball instead of running after it to get a better idea of what the bowler might be attempting to do.

"The important things ... are finding a survival method, watching the ball off the pitch really closely, working out what shots you can and can't play and learning you have a fraction of a second longer to play the ball off the pitch when compared to Australia," he said.