Ponting's out-of-the-box advice for Rohit Sharma, Dravid in view of WTC final: 'Gill can open, Rahul can potentially...'

Mar 07, 2023 09:16 AM IST

Ricky Ponting is confident that the Rohit Sharma-led side would make the WTC final, and view of the clash against the Aussies, he suggested to an out-of-the-box move in the batting order.

Team India are yet to reach the World Test Championship final. Had they won in Indore against Australia in the third Test match of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy series, India would have become the first team to have secured a place in the summit clash. But Australia sealed their berth instead with an emphatic nine-wicket win leaving India's chances on thin ice. Australia legend Ricky Ponting however is confident that the Rohit Sharma-led side would make the WTC final, and view of the clash against the Aussies, he suggested to an out-of-the-box move in the batting order.

Shubman Gill and KL Rahul; Ricky Ponting
Shubman Gill and KL Rahul; Ricky Ponting

Ponting understands that the conditions in England for the WTC final will be in complete contrast to the one Indian team are facing at home and hence feels that the side should consider tweaking their line-up for the final.

India dropped the experienced KL Rahul for the fourth Test match after the opener's prolonged lean patch. Shubman Gill played in his stead. Speaking on the ICC Review, Ponting feels both Gill and Rahul should be part of the line-up for the WTC final in June at the Oval.

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Ponting backed Rahul based on his numbers in England where the India star scored two of his seven Test centuries - a 149 at the Oval in 2018 tour and a 129 at the Lord's in 2021. Although, the former Australia cricketer feels Rahul could be used a middle-order batter.

"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,” Ponting suggested. "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.

“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 innings."

Ponting's notion comes from the fact that India would miss an impressive batter in Rishabh Pant in the middle order, who also has a century in England, and while Rahul may not be a wicketkeeping option, he might come in for Shreyas Iyer.

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