Ponting earmarks Fraser-McGurk, asks for him to be ‘fast-tracked’ as future Test player


Australian cricket legend Ricky Ponting has earmarked Jake Fraser-McGurk as a future Test star, believing the 21-year-old blaster has as much talent as a young David Warner.

The Victorian, who crossed to South Australia ahead of the current domestic season, is the talk of the cricket world for his fearless and cavalier approach to opening.

Fraser-McGurk belted 41 off 18 balls in Australia’s record win – achieved with 43 overs left – against West Indies in Canberra on Tuesday.

It was his second international appearance, after he smashed a towering six in Sydney on Sunday before being dismissed by the fifth ball of the match.

Ponting was not surprised by Fraser-McGurk’s dazzling display, saying he was reminded of Warner’s famous take-down of a powerful South African attack at the MCG in 2009.

“(Fraser-McGurk) is someone that can be well and truly fast-tracked through the Australian system,” Ponting said on Wednesday after being confirmed as coach of US Major League Cricket franchise Washington Freedom.

“When we saw (Warner) at the start everyone doubted whether he’s going to be good enough to play Test cricket, technically.

“But with the talent and the skill that (Warner) had – Jake has got as much talent as David had come coming through … the earlier they can get him into the system (the better). 

“Get him playing and letting him work out for himself the best way to have success in all the different formats.”

Ponting referenced former Pakistan allrounder Shahid Afridi as someone who made the jump from a limited-overs power-hitter to a Test player.

“When you’ve got that sort of talent, you need to be exposed to cricket at the highest level to work it out, Jake can do that,” Australia’s all-time leading century-maker said.

Fraser-McGurk’s rise comes just a month after Warner, one of Australia’s greatest openers, ended his Test and one-day international careers.

Jake Fraser-McGurk of Australia bats during game three against the West Indies. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Warner, 37, remains a member of Australia’s Twenty20 squad in the lead-up to this year’s World Cup in the United States and the Caribbean.

Fraser-McGurk enjoyed a strong Big Bash League campaign with the Melbourne Renegades but has been overlooked for the T20 squads, with selectors slotting him into Warner’s vacant spot as ODI opener.

Steve Smith, who alongside Ponting is Australia’s best men’s batter since Don Bradman, was blown away watching Fraser-McGurk.

“He’s certainly not short of confidence and it’s cool to see someone come in and at the age of 21 just play with such freedom and no fear at all,” Smith said on Tuesday night.

Wicketkeeper Josh Inglis, who opened alongside Fraser-McGurk in Sydney and Canberra, labelled his young teammate a “freak” for how well he hit the ball.

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