Ricky Ponting expects Usman Khawaja to outperform Virat Kohli in the Test series
He also predicted the outcome of the four-match Test series.
Published - Nov 29, 2018 4:53 pm | Updated - Nov 29, 2018 4:53 pm
As the Indian skipper Virat Kohli enters the Test series against Australia with all eyes on him, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting doesn’t think he will be the top performer. He rather expects Australia’s Usman Khawaja to better Kohli in the series and emerge on top. Ponting also predicted the winner of the four-match Test series that starts on December 6.
Not just his current form but Kohli when he last toured down under in 2014 had amassed 692 runs at an average of 86.50 and scored four centuries in the Test series and was only behind the skipper Steve Smith in terms of numbers. But Ponting thinks conditions in Adelaide and Perth if there is something in the wickets will make Kohli vulnerable.
“[Khawaja) will just pip Kohli,” Ponting said while talking to cricket.com.au. “Kohli will play well I’m sure because he does everywhere he goes and had a great series against Australia last time. Just where they’re starting in Adelaide and Perth – if they leave something in them, Kohli is a bit more vulnerable in those conditions than Melbourne and Sydney.”
2018 has been a pretty successful year for Khawaja as he has scored 565 runs in 7 Tests with a couple of hundreds. He will be high on confidence having shown a lot of grit against Pakistan in the UAE.
“He [Khwaja] is on top of his game, his record in Australia is outstanding. As much of a threat that the Indian fast bowlers might pose, I think he’s got a game that can cope with it here in Australia. I’m going with him to be the leading run scorer and man of the series.
“Right now he’s in a really good place, the selectors backed him through that UAE tour, gave him a chance and he came out (better) on the other side of that. With the skill that he’s got and maybe a bit more belief in his own game than ever before, I think he’s got the perfect package to have a great summer.”
Ponting’s series prediction
Not just that the World Cup-winning Australian captain also expects the hosts to win the series. His predicted scoreline in favour of Australia is 2-1. He wants to see pitches that have some life, in that case their batsmen will be in a better position when compared to India.
“I’d love to see the pitches have a little bit in them because I think our batters will bat better against their (bowlers) with something in them than their (batters) will against ours. We’re talking 40 years of history with India coming to Australia and not being able to win because of the fast, bouncy nature of our pitches so I’d love to see them that way.
“If it’s a wicket in Perth like I saw for the one-dayer against South Africa then I can’t see India making too many at all – that was a one-dayer and that (pitch) went all over the shop, with good pace and good bounce.
“With Adelaide being like it’s been the last couple of years, having a little bit more grass in the surface (will suit Australia). I’d like to see a little bit of grass left on them for the first two and then I think Australian can put the series to bed after two Tests.
“India need to get off to a really good start (in the series). “If they get behind the eight ball if those first two games then they might fight back and win one Sydney or Melbourne, but it will be too late,” he stated.