Legendary captain Ricky Ponting feels that India and Australia's pursuit of the World Test Championship (WTC) final will heavily depend on the 2023 Border-Gavaskar series. The two nations are scheduled to compete in a four-match Test series on the subcontinent next year.
Australia and India are placed second and fourth in the points table respectively at the moment. The Pat Cummins-led side will host West Indies and South Africa after their trip to India. On the other hand, a two-match Test series away from home against Bangladesh awaits India ahead of the Border-Gavaskar series.
Opining that the contest between India and Australia is one of the most anticipated ones on the calendar, Ponting said in the latest edition of the ICC Review:
"I think Australia's chances really hinge on the upcoming Indian tour, to be honest and India’s chances are a little bit the same. It is always a much-anticipated series – Australia and India, whether it be in Australia or in India – it’s much hyped up and talked about, the rivalry between the two countries is just growing year on year."
Australia have already played five Tests in the subcontinent in their ongoing World Test Championship (WTC) cycle. The Men In Yellow claimed a 1-0 series win over Pakistan and recently settled for a 1-1 draw in Sri Lanka.
"They can overtake Root in the next few months" - Ricky Ponting backs Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Virat Kohli and Babar Azam to claim No.1 spot in the batting charts
Scoring at an astronomical rate across the last 18 months, Joe Root has taken massive strides in comparison to his rivals. The former England captain currently holds the No.1 ranking in the Test batting charts with a rating of 923.
The Australian duo of Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith occupy two spots among the top four, while Babar Azam also features as the number three ranked player.
Backing Smith and Labuschagne to score heavily in Australia's upcoming fixtures, Ponting said:
"Both of those guys have outstanding records in Australia. I think looking back at last week, it was Marnus’ first hundred (against Sri Lanka) outside Australia. In saying that, it’s been in Australia in the last couple of years where Smith has had most troubles."
"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."
Virat Kohli lost his place among the top 10 ranked Test batters following a poor tour of England. Will Joe Root be able to maintain his spot at the top of the rankings after the home series against South Africa? Let us know what you think.
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