Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting on Thursday predicted that Usman Khawaja would score more runs that Indian skipper Virat Kohli in the Test series.
Ponting also favoured his countrymen to win the four-match series 2-1 but also tipped Khawaja to be the leading run-scorer and player of the series.
He also tipped Australian paceman, Josh Hazelwood, to end up as the leading wicket-taker in the series.
“He’s (Khawaja) on top of his game, his record in Australia is outstanding. As much of a threat that the Indian fast bowlers might pose, I think he’s got a game that can cope with it here in Australia. I’m going with him to be the leading run scorer and man of the series,” said Ponting, as quoted by cricket.com.au.
Ponting explained his thoughts with a historical reference of India not being able to win a Test series in Australia.
“We’re talking 40 years of history with India coming to Australia and not being able to win because of the fast, bouncy nature of our pitches so I’d love to see them that way,” he added.
The 43-year old also pointed out the fact that India perhaps wouldn’t be able to make many runs if they get a pitch as lively as that of the new Perth Stadium which is set to host its first Test match. The track in the new ground has shown signs of life with pace and bounce in a recent ODI played between the hosts and South Africa.
Said Ponting, “”If it’s a wicket in Perth like I saw for the one-dayer against South Africa then I can’t see India making too many at all – that was a one-dayer and that (pitch) went all over the shop, with good pace and good bounce.
“With Adelaide being like it’s been the last couple of years, having a little bit more grass in the surface (will suit Australia). I’d like to see a little bit of grass left on them for the first two and then I think Australian can put the series to bed after two Tests,” he added.
He nonetheless added that Kohli would do well in the series.
“Kohli will play well I’m sure because he does everywhere he goes and had a great series against Australia last time. Just where they’re starting in Adelaide and Perth – if they leave something in them, Kohli is a bit more vulnerable in those conditions than Melbourne and Sydney,” Ponting opined.
Image credit- Circle of Cricket