Australia great Ricky Ponting has once again backed out-of-form Virat Kohli to perform in ongoing Border-Gavaskar series but suggested that India should consider a change to their batting order if they secure a spot in the ICC World Test Championship Final at The Oval in June.
Kohli has only managed to score 111 runs from five innings so far in the series against Australia and will have to face the same opposition again if India secures a victory in the fourth test in Ahmedabad this week.
“I’m not looking at anybody’s form in this Test series because, for a batsman, it has just been an absolute, it’s been a nightmare. For Virat, I’ve said it before I say it over and over. Champion players always find a way, and yes, it might seem like he’s in a bit of a drought at the moment and he might not be scoring the runs that we all expect him to score,” Ponting said.
“And certainly, you know, he’s a realist as well. And we all know as batsmen, when you’re struggling and not scoring runs, you don’t need anybody else to tell you. You’re pretty aware of it yourself. But no, I’m every day of the week putting my hand up and not even showing any sort of concern for Virat Kohli. Because I know he will bounce back,” he added.
According to Ponting, the conditions in England during June would be significantly different from what the teams are presently facing in the sub-continent. Hence, he suggests that India should consider a change to their batting order if they make it to the World Test Championship final.
KL Rahul, an experienced right-hander, was recently dropped for Shubman Gill at the top of India’s batting order. However, Ponting believes that there is a way to include both players in the final team. He notes that Rahul has a good track record in England, having scored two of his seven Test centuries there, including an impressive 149 at The Oval in 2018. Therefore, Ponting suggests that the 30-year-old could be a valuable option for India’s middle-order in the upcoming match.
“With someone like KL Rahul having gone out of this side and Shubman Gill having come in, both these guys have played a bit of Test match cricket and you could potentially have both of those guys in the same team. Maybe Shubman could start at the top and KL could potentially move down into the middle order because he’s played cricket in those (English) conditions before, albeit at the top of the order,” Ponting suggested.
“Because it’s just a one-off Test match, it will be really important to pick the team that you think is going to have the most success in those conditions. But one thing we know about the UK is that the ball swings for long periods of time during the day. And if the overhead conditions are suitable, then the ball tends to swing right the way through an inning,” Ponting noted.
Ponting has urged both India and Australia to consider the English conditions while selecting their best XI for the one-off Test showpiece. In particular, he emphasized the importance of analyzing the venue of the World Test Championship final and selecting the team accordingly.
Since the final will be a one-off affair, Ponting believes that it is crucial for the teams to consider the conditions and choose their playing eleven accordingly. He suggested that the teams should take into account the pitch, weather conditions, and other factors that could affect the game’s outcome. By doing so, they can maximize their chances of success in the final match.
“The Oval can be a really, really good place to bat as long as the sun is out, it’s probably as good a wicket as any in the UK. So I think that’s what it would come down to for India. It would just come down to assessing the conditions and then maybe forgetting about this last series that’s just been played. The conditions that we’re seeing here (in India) are quite extreme. If it was Australia and India, they would both look at the conditions and pick the team that they think was best to win that one-off game,” Ponting mentioned.
Series Schedule: Australia tour of India Fixtures and Series Schedule