Legendary cricketer Ricky Ponting believes that in order to overcome India’s challenge in the upcoming World Test Championship final at The Oval next week, Australia need to be wary of the formidable duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli.
Ponting emphasised the importance of guarding against Pujara, who is a key pillar of India’s Test batting lineup. Pujara’s extensive experience playing at Sussex in the English County Championship could provide valuable insights to his teammates, making him an even more formidable opponent.
Additionally, Ponting highlighted Kohli’s exceptional form, as he recently displayed his best performance by scoring two centuries and six half-centuries for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League.
Kohli’s outstanding batting prowess makes him a significant threat that Australia must contend with.
Overall, Ponting suggested that Australia will need to be well-prepared and focused on countering the skills and impact of both Pujara and Kohli to succeed in the crucial World Test Championship final.
“The Australian team will be talking about Virat, no doubt about it, and they’ll be talking about Pujara. They’re the two,” Ponting said on ‘The ICC Review’.
Pujara is known to relish the challenges thrown at him by Australian bowlers, having scored more Test runs and centuries against them than any other side, and his contribution would be crucial to India’s chances of lifting the WTC trophy in their second attempt.
“Pujara has been a thorn in their side a lot in the past, and in Australia, and this wicket will potentially be a lot more like an Australian pitch. They know that they’ll have to get him early,” opined the former Australian captain.
Pujara, who bats at No. 3, has 2,033 runs and five centuries in 24 Tests against Australia, and skipper Rohit Sharma will hope he makes a couple of more vital contributions for the side in the WTC final.
Kohli, apart from his sparkling form in the IPL, had smashed 186 in the fourth Test against Australia in March during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and would be itching to have a go at the Pat Cummins-led side.
“They also know that Virat over the last few weeks is probably just about back to his absolute best, albeit in T20 cricket. He told me that the feeling he’s getting right now is that he’s almost back to his best, and that’s an ominous warning for the Australians going into a one-off game,” said Ponting.
Ponting is also mightily impressed with young Shubman Gill’s performance in the IPL and the 23-year-old’s exploits in the last two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar series.
Gill hit three centuries for Gujarat Titans in IPL.
“He looks like a terrific young guy. He’s got that bit of attitude about him as well. He’s got a bit of swagger. He has some serious class. That sort of front-foot pull shot that he plays against the fast bowlers will be a shot that he’ll probably need against this Australian attack,” said Ponting.