'Whether it's Smith or Virat, when they bounce back to career-best form...': Ponting's huge prediction for star batters
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting made a bold prediction on star batters Steve Smith and Virat Kohli.
India's star batter Virat Kohli has been going through a rough patch over the past few years. In the recently-concluded tour of England, Kohli played in the rescheduled fifth Test, two T20Is and as many ODIs; however, he failed to breach the 20-run mark in any of the six innings. Kohli had been rested for the home T20I series against South Africa and was given rest again in the West Indies tour, that comprised of 3 ODIs and five T20Is. The star batter's extended struggles have become a concern for the team management, as well as Indian cricket fraternity at large.
There's another star batter, however, who may not have had a similar rough patch as Kohli, but didn't perform to the standards he has set in the past – Australia's Steve Smith. The right-handed batter broke a 16-month deadlock for an international century in June earlier this year, when he finally reached the three-figure mark against Sri Lanka in the second Test. Smith, like Kohli, is considered the part of the much-renowned elite batters club ‘Fab-4’, that also includes England's Joe Root and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.
Root is in the form of his life, having scored four centuries in his last four Tests. Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting weighed in on the comparisons between the star batters, insisting that while Root is far ahead of the others, the likes of Smith, Kohli, and Australia's Marnus Labsuchagne can “overtake” the England star.
“Marnus was on record recently saying that it (the century against Sri Lanka) might just be the opening of the floodgates again for Steve Smith. I think it’s been 16-17 innings for him without a Test hundred – that doesn't happen too often,” Ponting said on The ICC Review.
“Joe Root has been exactly the opposite. Every time he has gone out to bat in the last 18 months or two years, he’s made a hundred, particularly against India. His record against India has been absolutely outstanding.
"One thing I know is his class is permanent.
“Whether it's Smith or Labuschagne or even Virat, when he bounces back to his career-best form, any one of those guys – and Babar Azam is another one – they can overtake Root in the next few months,” Ponting said.
While India and Australia are not scheduled to play in another Test series in the near future, England meet South Africa in three Tests next month.