Ricky Ponting’s surprising combined India-Australia XI for WTC Final sparks debate

 Ricky Ponting’s surprising combined India-Australia XI for WTC Final sparks debate

Ricky Ponting WTC

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting recently revealed his combined India-Australia XI for the upcoming World Test Championship (WTC) final between the two cricketing giants. Ponting’s selection raised some eyebrows as he made several surprising omissions from the lineup.

Ponting’s team saw only four Indian players making the cut. Leading the side was Rohit Sharma, who was also appointed as the captain. In an interesting move, Ponting chose Usman Khawaja to open the innings alongside Sharma, leaving out the in-form Shubman Gill, who had impressed with a century in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy earlier this year. Ponting praised Khawaja’s exceptional performance over the past couple of years and his ability to shine in various conditions.

“I’ll start with Usman Khawaja. His last couple of years, whether it has been in Australia or away, have been outstanding at the top of the order,” Ponting said on a recent podcast. “Almost since he’s been picked back in the Australian team, he hasn’t put a foot wrong. The older he is getting, the better he is getting,” said the former Australia skipper. 

“I’m going left hand-right hand, so I’ll go for Rohit Sharma as the other opener. He’s not just entirely form-based either. I wanted him to be captain of the side. Pat Cummins, I’ll mention him later, he’ll be in this side, but just from the experience point of view with Rohit, he’s obviously been captain a lot longer than Pat has, so I thought he deserved to be the captain of this team,” said Ponting. 

At number three, Ponting picked Marnus Labuschagne, followed by the renowned duo of Virat Kohli and Steve Smith, both considered as two of the best Test batsmen in modern-day cricket. Ponting acknowledged Labuschagne’s remarkable rise since his debut and his current top ranking in the world Test batting charts.

The third Indian player in Ponting’s XI was all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who has shown significant improvement in his batting skills over the past few years. Ponting highlighted Jadeja’s ability to hold the middle order, while also praising his recent performances in Test cricket.

Carey over Pant

Surprisingly, Ponting opted for Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey over India’s Rishabh Pant. He commended Carey’s exceptional wicketkeeping skills, particularly in challenging conditions in India during the previous Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Carey’s Test career has grown significantly in the last 12 months, according to Ponting.

In the pace-bowling department, Ponting selected three Australians and one Indian. His choices were Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, and Mohammed Shami. Ponting lauded Starc’s outstanding performance over the past year, emphasizing his improved consistency and skills. He also praised Shami’s exceptional form in recent weeks during the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Ponting backed Nathan Lyon as the lone spinner in his XI, considering the high praise he receives from subcontinental batsmen. Lyon’s effectiveness against strong players from the Indian subcontinent made him an obvious choice for Ponting.

Ponting’s combined India-Australia XI for the WTC final: Rohit Sharma (c), Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Ravindra Jadeja, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Mohammed Shami.


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