‘If India want to win the WTC final, he has to step up…’: Ponting on Rohit’s weapon

Picking India’s top two seamers for the World Test Championship (WTC) final is one of the easiest tasks. It is literally a no-brainer to predict that Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj will be India’s openers for the WTC final against Australia on June 7 at The Oval in London. In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, needless to say, the seam attack will be led by Shami. Some might even argue that Shami will spearhead India’s bowling attack and not just the pace battery considering the match will be played in English conditions where Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin might not be as effective.

Former Australian cricketer Ricky Ponting (AFP)

Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting shared similar views when asked about India’s bowling attack for the WTC final. Ponting said Shami must take his game to another level and play a starring role if India are to win their first ICC title since the Champions Trophy in 2013 next week.

“I think he has to step up or try to take his game to another level if India are going to win this game,” Ponting told ICC.

“When you talk to the Australian batsmen as well, they understand how good Shami is whether it’s new ball or old ball, whether it’s in Australia or India,” said the former Australian cricketer.

Shami had Bumrah and Ishant Sharma for company in the last WTC final against New Zealand. This time, though he will have Siraj, who has emerged as an all-format seamer, the man from Amroha, Uttar Pradesh will have to do the brunt of the damage to beat the Australian batting order consisting of Travis Taking apart Head, Steve Smith, Usman. Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne.

In the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, Shami has performed superbly for Gujarat Titans. He was awarded ‘Purple Cap’ for emerging as the highest wicket-taker of the tournament. The veteran seamer took 28 wickets in the season with an economy of 8.03 and an average of 18.64. His best bowling time was 4/1.

Shami played just three Test matches in 2023 where he picked nine scalps at an average of 28.22. He had the best bowling figures of 4/60. In the Border Gavaskar Trophy against Australia at home, Shami bowled nearly 70 overs – by far the most by a seamer in the four-match series.

“They know what skills he has and how dangerous he can be. He will have to be,” Ponting concluded.

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Source: Hindustan Times

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