Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting termed Australia as "slight favorites" over India to win the ICC World Test Championship (WTC 2023) final which will begin on June 7 at the Oval in London.
Ponting stated that his team is a slight favorite to win the title in an event before the WTC 2023 final between India and Australia at The Oval. He claimed that The Oval's conditions are better suited to Australia than to India.
The legendary Australian cricketer added that the Indian players' exposure to intense competitive cricket in the IPL 2023 and Australia's recent lack of competitive cricket might both affect the outcome of the game.
"Australia is slight favorite. The conditions are more suited to Australia as compared to India. These two teams have beaten more opposition than they have lost. They deserved to finish first and second. Australia has not cricket as of late. On the other side, almost all Indian players have played extremely competitive cricket in IPL. One side comes into this match as fresh, while the other side is tired. A lot of such factors would affect the match," Ponting said on ICC’s "An Afternoon With" Event.
Ponting said that the rivalry between India and Australia is "one of the great rivalries" in the sport. India and Australia have faced off in 106 Tests. India has won 32 matches, Australia has got 44 wins, while 29 matches ended in a draw and one in a tie.
Furthermore, Ricky Ponting urged India to field both R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja for the WTC 2023 final at the Oval. With 25 and 22 wickets each in the Border-Gavaskar trophy earlier this year, Ashwin and Jadeja have recently enjoyed remarkable success against Australia.
Ponting feels that Jadeja's exploits with the bat could prove to be critical in seeing Ashwin get a spot in the lineup.
“I actually think they will pick Jadeja and Ashwin. Jadeja can hold down that No.6 batting spot. His batting has improved that much that they can pick him as a batter that might just bowl a few overs if required,” said Ponting on ICC Review.
Ponting asserted that Jadeja is not as proficient as the right-arm off-spinner. The southpaw could show to be a high-class spin bowling option in the contest, according to Ponting, if he can maintain the batting position and if the ball turns on the final two days of the game.
“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, you've got that high class second spin bowling option. That's certainly what I'd be doing,” Ponting signed off.