"The Australian team will be talking about Virat" - Ricky Ponting on keys for India in WTC Final

Kohli and Pujara will be crucial to India
ViratKohli and Cheteshwar Pujara will be crucial to India's chances in the WTC final

Ricky Ponting believes that the dynamic duo of Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara will have to play crucial roles for India to overhaul Australia in the World Test Championship (WTC) final. The all-important clash is scheduled to be played at the Oval, starting on June 7.

Pujara has been in red-hot form playing for Sussex at the County Championship Division Two in England. The right-handed batter has scored 545 runs in six games at an average of 68.12, including three centuries.

Virat Kohli, meanwhile, is coming off an excellent IPL season, scoring 639 runs at an average of 53.25, including back-to-back centuries.

The former Indian skipper also scored a brilliant 186 against Australia in the final Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy in Ahmedabad in March.

"The Australian team will be talking about Virat, no doubt about it, and they'll be talking about Pujara," Ricky Ponting told ICC Review. "They're the two. Pujara has been a thorn in their side a lot in the past, and in Australia, and this wicket will potentially be a lot more like an Australian pitch. They know that they'll have to get him early."
"They also know that Virat over the last few weeks is probably just about back to his absolute best, albeit in T20 cricket," he added. "He told me that the feeling he's getting right now is that he's almost back to his best, and that's an ominous warning for the Australians going into a one-off game."

Cheteshwar Pujara boasts an excellent record against Australia, scoring 2033 runs at an average of 50.82 with five centuries in 24 Tests. The 35-year-old was the Player of the Series in India's first-ever series win down under in 2018/19, scoring 521 runs at an average of 74.43.

Virat Kohli, on the other hand, also has impressive numbers against the Aussies, scoring 1979 runs at an average of 48.93 with eight centuries in 24 matches.

"He's got a bit of swagger" - Ricky Ponting on Shubman Gill ahead of the WTC Final

Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting also hailed young sensation Shubman Gill for his attitude and swagger ahead of the India-Australia clash in the WTC final.

Gill had an incredible IPL season, finishing with 890 runs in 17 games at an average of 59.33 and winning the Orange Cap.

Gill has also had a superb outing in international cricket so far in 2023. The 23-year-old scored his maiden Test century in the fourth Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy against Australia in Ahmedabad earlier this year.

Speaking about Gill ahead of the marquee clash, Ponting said:

"He looks like a terrific young guy. He's got that bit of attitude about him as well. He's got a bit of swagger. He has some serious class.That sort of front foot pull shot that he plays against the fast bowlers will be a shot that he'll probably need against this Australian attack."

The 48-year-old Ricky Ponting also picked out Mohammed Shami as the key to the Indian bowling attack in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah due to injury.

"I think he has to step up or try and take his game to another level if India are going to win this game," he said. "When you talk to the Australian batters as well, they understand how good Shami is whether it's new ball or old ball, whether it's in Australia or India. They know the skillset he's got and how dangerous he can be. It’s going to have to be him."

Shami won the Purple Cap in the recently concluded IPL season, picking up 28 wickets in 17 games.

He also boasts an impressive record against Australia in Tests, with 40 wickets in 11 Tests.

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Edited by Ankush Das
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