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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

ICC World Test Championship: Former England cricketer names favourites

At the moment, India are on top of the table with 120 points, having won both their games so far in West Indies. New Zealand and Sri Lanka, with one win each, are in second and third place, respectively, with 60 points.

cricket Updated: Sep 12, 2019 11:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Representative Image.
Representative Image.(Getty Images)
         

The ICC World Test Championship is just a few months old but former England spinner Monty Panesar believes that considering the form that they have displayed till now, Australia are the favourites to win the title. Australia successfully retained the Ashes after they won the third Test against England at Old Trafford with Steve Smith being the top performer. “Australia. The way they are playing and dominating, I am sure they will win the championship,” Panesar told Times of India in an interview when asked about his pick to win the tournament.

At the moment, India are on top of the table with 120 points, having won both their games so far in West Indies. New Zealand and Sri Lanka, with one win each, are in second and third place, respectively, with 60 points. Australia, who have won two Tests and drawn one, are at 56 points in the fourth place.

READ: Ramiz Raja slams Sri Lanka cricketers for opting out of Pakistan series

Panesar echoed his teammate Steve Harmison’s sentiments and said that Australia batsman Steve Smith should not be compared with any cricketing great after his involvement in the sandpapergate. Harmison believes that irrespective of what Smith achieved on the field, the cricketing world would always remember him as a cheat.

“I don’t think you can forgive him. When you’re known as a cheat – and he is, I’m not going to sugar-coat it – that’s on your CV. You’re marked and you take it to the grave,” Harmison told talkSPORT. “Whatever Steve Smith does, he’ll always be remembered for what happened in South Africa,” he further added.

Panesar supported that argument and said that Smith will never be in the league of greats.

READ: ‘Steve Smith should not be associated with any cricketing great’

“This will always be at the back of the mind of every cricket fan. Smith has similar stature as Ricky Ponting. Does he deserve that? I would say no. Because Ponting captained the team, scored many match-winning knocks and guided Australia to World Cup (title), but he didn’t do the Sandpaper incident. If we will compare Smith with him, we would be tarnishing Ponting’s image. I don’t think his (Smith) name should be associated with any cricketing great,”

“There is a difference between a good player and a great player. It’s all about how you conduct yourself on and off the field. Because of the sandpaper incident, Smith will always be below the ‘great’ status. Look at Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, MS Dhoni or Kapil Dev. When we talk about these cricketers we add legend or great before their names. Be it on or off the field, these guys have conducted themselves so well. When you meet them, you feel so good. They are great human beings. It doesn’t matter how many runs Smith will score, he will never be in the league of greats,” he added.

First Published: Sep 11, 2019 22:10 IST