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Ashes ‘the biggest challenge’ for Steve Smith, says Ricky Ponting

Ashes ‘the biggest challenge’ for Steve Smith, says Ricky Ponting

first_imgFormer Australia skipper Ricky Ponting believes the upcoming Ashes series against England will be the biggest challenge for current skipper Steve Smith.Australia have not been the greatest of their forms in the recent past. After a 1-2 drubbing in the four-match Test series against India, they were knocked of the Champions Trophy in the group stage.”(Smith) has got his biggest challenge coming up,” Ponting was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.”An Ashes series as an Australian or England captain is the biggest thing that you play for and the biggest thing of your captaincy life,” he added.Ponting, who led Australia to 48 Tests wins – the most by any Australian, further proclaimed that Smith’s career as captain will be judged on winning the Ashes.”Fortunately or unfortunately, it’s those series that you are remembered for as a leader and as a player as well,” he asserted.The 28-year-old has polished off 2,711 runs at an average of 73.27 with 12 centuries. However, his leadership turned a corner after the humiliation in Hobart last summer when South Africa defeated Australia to secure the Test and wrap up the series with a match to spare.In 24 Tests as skipper, Smith has 12 wins, seven loss and five draws to his name. And Ponting seems impressed with his captaincy so far and concedes that Smith has done a terrific job while leading the team.”I think Steve Smith has done a terrific job captaining the Australian team,” Ponting said.”He’s got a very level head on his shoulders, he’s obviously playing the best cricket of his life right at the moment, which says a lot about how the responsibility sits with him,” he added.advertisementThe five-match Ashes series will begin on November 23 at the Gabba, Brisbane followed by matches at Adelaide Oval (December 2-6), WACA (December 14-18), MCG (December 26-30) and SCG (January 4-8).last_img read more

WTA rankings: Simona Halep returns to top 5 as 15-year-old Coco Gauff soars

WTA rankings: Simona Halep returns to top 5 as 15-year-old Coco Gauff soars

first_imgSimona Halep’s Wimbledon championship lifted her from No. 7 to No. 4 in the WTA rankings on Monday, while runner-up Serena Williams moved up one spot to No. 9, her best placing since returning to the tour last season after having a baby.Halep beat Williams in Saturday’s final with surprising ease, 6-2, 6-2.Coco Gauff’s magical run from a wild-card entry in qualifying all the way to the fourth round at the All England Club allowed her to move into the WTA’s top 150 for the first time.The 15-year-old American rose 172 places to No. 141 from No. 313 before the tournament. Gauff was the youngest player to ever qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon, then beat five-time champion Venus Williams on the way to reaching the fourth round. That is when Gauff lost to eventual champion Halep.Two other big jumps came from Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic and Lauren Davis of the U.S.The 33-year-old Strycova became the oldest first-time Grand Slam semifinalist in the professional era before losing to Williams, allowing her to move up 22 places to No. 32. Strycova also took over at No. 1 in the doubles rankings on Monday by winning that title at Wimbledon.After losing in qualifying, Davis made it into the main draw when someone else withdrew. She then eliminated Angelique Kerber in the second round to become the first “lucky loser” to beat a defending champion at a major in the professional era and went up 13 spots to 75th.Kerber dropped from No. 5 to 13th.advertisementFrench Open champion Ash Barty remains at No. 1 in singles, followed by two-time major champion Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova.Wimbledon men’s champ Novak Djokovic stayed atop the ATP rankings after his 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 13-12 (3) victory over Roger Federer on Sunday in the longest final in tournament history. Rafael Nadal is No. 2 and Federer is No. 3.Roberto Bautista Agut, who lost to Djokovic in the semifinals, went from No. 22 to No. 13, equaling his career high.Daniil Medvedev’s third-round showing let him crack the top 10 for the first time at No. 10; he was ranked 13th before Wimbledon. Sam Querrey, beaten by Nadal in the quarterfinals, lifted his ranking by 26 spots to No. 39.Read more | Andy Murray’s mother shares throwback picture of Wimbledon 2019 champion Novak DjokovicAlso see:last_img read more