WTC Final: Ponting picks both Jadeja and Ashwin in playing XI; wants Kishan as ‘x-factor’ ahead of Bharat

London, May 29 (PTI) Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting believes that India will play both Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin in the World Test Championship final against Australia, starting June 7.

Ponting, a three-time ODI World Cup winner, also reckons that India should try out left-handed batter-keeper Ishan Kishan for the marquee match scheduled at the Oval.

“I think they will pick Jadeja and Ashwin because Jadeja can hold that No. 6 batting spot. His (Jadeja) batting has improved that much that they can pick him as a batter now who might just bowl a few overs if required,” Ponting told in ICC Review Podcast.

Ponting then explained the reason behind his view.

“There is no doubt that Ashwin is a more skilled and better Test bowler than what Jadeja is, but if Jadeja can hold down that batting spot and then as the game goes on, getting into the fourth and fifth day, if it does start to turn, then you have got that really high-class second spin bowling option if required,” he explained.

Having played a host of Ashes games at the Oval during his playing days, Ponting expects a lot of turn on offer.

“Historically, the Oval pitch has been a very good batting wicket. It’s generally offered something for the fast bowlers on day one, not a lot. But I have also played some games there where it has turned a lot. If it starts a little bit dry, it can turn a lot.” With no Rishabh Pant available for this game, Ponting feels Ishan Kishan with superior batting skills, should get a go.

“If I was them [India], knowing the importance of this game – and you have to win this Test match – I’d be going with Ishan Kishan in this game,” Ponting said.

“He provides that little bit of X-factor that you need when you might be pushing for a win in a Test match. Obviously, if Rishabh Pant is fit, he is playing, and he provides that X-factor for India.

“But with him not being there, and this is no blot on Bharat whatsoever, but I think Kishan just provides that little bit more X-factor, who’d do a good job with the gloves but can provide that really high-scoring run rate that is required in a one-off Test match to push for a win.” In a one-off Test, Ponting wants as many x-factor players as possible.

“I’d be going with as many X-factor players as I could and put some real pressure back on Australia.” Ponting was happy to see Ajinkya Rahane make a comeback to Test squad but also felt that his positive intent in first phase of IPL, did help his cause.

“Jinks (Rahane) has had an incredible IPL as well. It’s funny, isn’t it, how IPL runs can now get you picked back into a Test match squad,” Ponting said.

“Jinks has been on the outer for the last couple of years in Test cricket, but everyone saw how confident he looked and how well he played in the IPL and that was enough to get him back in.” Ponting feels that Test cricket is easier for Rahane compared to his recent exploits in IPL for CSK.

“He (Rahane) has been there and done it before in Test cricket. It was probably a bigger hurdle for him to climb to get back into playing really good T20 cricket than it is for him to go back and play good Test cricket.

“His make-up is much more suited to the Test game than it is to T20 cricket. He has rediscovered some confidence and if he does get picked, I won’t be surprised to see him get runs in that Test match. He has always been a really high-quality player and we saw him even with his leadership qualities in Australia, in that last series to turn things around.”

Source: PTI News


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