Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting believes that the conditions of the Oval will be similar to Australia and this will give the Aussies a slight edge against India in the World Test Championship 2023 final. “I think it will be a bit more similar to an Australian wicket than it will be to an Indian wicket, therefore I am giving a slight advantage to Australia. If this game was being played in India, I would have said it is really going to be hard for Australia to win. If this game was played in Australia, I’d say Australia are the heavy favourites. The fact that this final is being played in England probably brings both teams a little closer together,” Ponting said at an event in New Delhi.
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The Indian team has started to dominate in overseas conditions in recent times. They dominated Australia in the 2020/21 Border Gavaskar Trophy. Along with this, the Pataudi Trophy 2021-2022 against England ended on level terms (2-2). The Indian team will certainly back themselves to lift the trophy even though the conditions may not play up to their advantage. “The one thing India has been able to change through that period from the late 1990s until now or even the early 2000s until now is their ability to compete outside of India,” Ponting said.
“Yes, their batting skills have gotten better but the fact that they have been able to produce some very good fast bowlers over the 10-15-year period that they’ve been able to have success away,” Ponting added.
One player who has played a crucial role in uplifting India’s chances in overseas conditions is Cheteshwar Pujara. The veteran Indian batter has put Division Two on fire with his incredible run-scoring and resilience in the Test format. He is currently the highest run-scorer in Division Two, having scored 545 runs in seven innings at an average of 77.85, with three centuries and a fifty. His best score is 151 across five matches.
Even Ponting addressed the threat Pujara carries and he called out his wicket as the most prized wicket out of all the Indian batters that the Australian team will try to claim with all their might. “He will be the prized wicket all the Australians will be looking forward to. Last few series they’ve played, [Cheteshwar] Pujara has been really hard to dismiss. He’s over there [in England] playing now [for Sussex]. Steve Smith is also there playing along with Marnus Labuschagne, trying to get a bit of a feel for the conditions before this big Test match comes around. So, look, I think it’ll be India India’s top order against Australia’s fast bowling. I think it is a bit of a mouthwatering sort of thought going forward.”
India’s challenge against Australia will begin on June 7.