Fri. Sep 22nd, 2023

Australian cricket legend Ricky Ponting has shared his admiration for Indian cricketer Virat Kohli, stating that the Australian players consider Kohli’s wicket to be the most prized in the upcoming ICC World Test Championship 2023 Final. Ponting made these remarks during the official curtain raiser for the event in New Delhi on May 19. As part of the event organized by the ICC, Ponting unveiled the Test Mace, the coveted trophy being contested by India and Australia, and interacted with local academy kids and the media.

Although Ponting is set to return home after Delhi Capitals’ final game of IPL 2023 against Chennai Super Kings, he expressed his excitement about heading to London soon after as a commentator for the WTC23 Final.

“I caught up with Virat about a month ago when we played them in Bangalore,” said Ponting. “And I had a good chat to him about his batting and where he was at and his career. And he said to me then that he actually feels like he’s almost back to his absolute best. You probably saw that last night, you know, he’s had a very good IPL and I’m sure he’ll be the prize wicket that all the Australians are looking are looking forward to.”

Expressing his enthusiasm for the high-quality Test cricket at The Oval starting on June 7, Ponting specifically highlighted the matchup between India’s number four batsman, Virat Kohli, and the Australian team. Kohli has been in irresistible form recently, scoring his sixth IPL century against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Ponting believes that Kohli’s current form poses a significant challenge for Australia.

“I think it’ll be India’s top order against Australia’s fast bowling, It’s a bit of a mouth-watering thought going forward. Generally, we think about the battles between India’s spinners and Australia’s batters. But will that be negated by the wicket at The Oval? Normally the wickets that I’ve played on The Oval have started as really good batting wickets, and actually have offered a little bit to the spinners as the game’s going on. That’s what I’d like to see in this wicket – to have a really good contest on day four, day five, or maybe even day six, seeing how it’s going.”

Ponting revealed that he had spoken with Kohli about a month ago during their match in Bangalore. Kohli expressed to Ponting that he felt he was close to returning to his absolute best. Ponting praised Kohli’s performance in the IPL and acknowledged that all the Australian players are eagerly looking forward to the opportunity to dismiss him.

“I don’t think there’s an advantage either way, to be honest. But I’m sure if you ask Virat what he’d rather be doing, he’d say he’d rather be scoring runs now. If you ask the fast bowlers they’d probably say that they’d probably prefer to have a couple of weeks rest. It works both ways.”

However, India will be missing some key players in the Final, including Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, and Jasprit Bumrah. Ponting believes that the match will revolve around the contest between India’s top-order batsmen and Australia’s pace attack. He expects an exciting battle between the two, especially considering the pitch conditions at The Oval, which traditionally favour batsmen initially but offer assistance to spinners as the game progresses.

Ponting also addressed the debate about the different approaches taken by India and Australia in their preparations for the Test. He acknowledged the advantages of both approaches, emphasizing that the individual player’s preferences and circumstances play a significant role. While Indian players participating in the IPL are focusing on workload management to ensure they are ready for the Test, Australian players like Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne have been in England, acclimatizing to the conditions. Ponting believes there is no clear advantage for either side and acknowledges the benefits of both approaches.

The ICC World Test Championship 2023 Final will take place at The Oval, starting on June 7.

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