Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has named his combined India-Australia Test XI ahead of WTC 2023 final, which will be played at the Oval in London from June 7-11 between the two sides. Ponting based his selection on recent form rather than reputation, aiming for a balance between left and right-handed players.
At the top of the order, Ponting chose Rohit Sharma and Usman Khawaja ahead of David Warner as the opening batters, with Rohit named as the team's captain due to his leadership experience. Marnus Labuschagne was selected as the No.3 for his exceptional performance in recent years.
"I'll start with Usman Khawaja. His last couple of years, whether it has been in Australia or away, have been outstanding at the top of the order. I'm going left hand-right hand, so I'll go for Rohit Sharma as the other opener. He's not just entirely form-based either. I wanted him to be captain of the side,” Ponting said on The ICC Review podcast.
"Since he (Labuschagne) came into Test cricket as a concussion sub at Lord's when Steve Smith got hit by Jofra Archer, he's hardly put a foot wrong. He's improved and comes on in leaps and bounds to be where he is now, right at the top of the world Test Batting Rankings, so it was pretty hard to go past him,” he added.
Then the great batter named Virat Kohli and Steve Smith in the middle order. Ravindra Jadeja, whose batting has significantly improved in Test cricket, was chosen as the all-rounder.
"Pretty hard to go past the next couple I've got in the batting line-up, which is Virat Kohli and Steve Smith. If you talk about great players of the last decade, both of these guys will be right at the top of anyone's list. Both with exceptional Test records and both make a lot of hundreds.
What I've seen with Ravi Jadeja the last two or three years in Test cricket is how much his batting has improved, and he can easily hold down a number six or number seven spot,” Ponting said.
Ponting then selected his country’s Alex Carey as the keeper in the XI, On the other hand, the bowling unit consisted of Australia captain Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Mohammad Shami, and Nathan Lyon. This meant there was no place for India’s ace spinner R Ashwin in the side.
With a formidable lineup, Ponting expressed confidence in his combined XI, stating that he wouldn't want to be on the opposing team facing them. He emphasized that the team had all bases covered and anticipated an intriguing World Test Championship final.
Ricky Ponting’s combined India-Australia Test XI:
Rohit Sharma (c), Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Ravindra Jadeja, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Mohammad Shami