Ponting advocates for Sharma-Kohli opening pair at T20 World Cup

India are among the top contenders at the World Cup

By Web Desk
May 22, 2024
Ponting is once again supporting Kohli (R) to perform outstandingly on the greatest stage possible at the T20 World Cup next month. - BCCI

The ICC Hall of Famer and former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has revealed his choice for the opening pair of Indian team in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup next month.

As the Men’s T20 World Cup is around the corner, there is a lot of discussion about the tactics and lineups of the Indian Cricket Team, particularly with regard to who should open in the opening match against Ireland in New York on Wednesday, June 5.

Although, Kohli has been playing well for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the recent Indian Premier League, held between March and May 2024. He exceeded expectations by scoring 708 runs from 14 innings but concerns have been raised regarding his strike-rate at the top of the batting order.

Australia’s great Ponting, a three-time winner of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, believes that even though strike rates have recently surpassed averages, Kohli is still crucial to India’s success.

“The mantra I think for the teams three or four years ago, was making sure that someone at the top of the order made 80 or 100, even if it took them 60 balls, it didn't really matter,” Ponting told the ICC.

“I think it's sort of shifting now to be more of a strike rate-based game where you can have a massive impact on a game with a 40 off 15 balls rather than getting an 80 off 55 balls sort of thing.”

Australia’s most successful run-maker believes that at the T20 World Cup Kohli, who has historically batted at No. 3 for India in the shortest format, would be best served opening the batting with captain Rohit Sharma.

“They [selectors] have still got a decision to make because [Yashasvi] Jaiswal is in that squad and one thing they haven't got a lot in their team is left-hand batters,” Ponting noted.

“So, they've got a decision to make with Jaiswal, but I'm pretty sure that they'll go with Kohli and Rohit Sharma [as openers].”

Ponting is once again supporting Kohli to perform outstandingly on the greatest stage possible at the T20 World Cup next month.

“It's funny with Virat. I think people in India just always try to find a reason not to pick him or a reason why he's maybe not as good as some of these other guys in the T20 game,” he said.

“He [Kohli] is the first pick for me for India.

“He can play his role at the top. And if you've got the right guys around him scoring [like] Suryakumar [Yadav]...Rohit Sharma's going to have a high strike rate. These other guys can go in there and play their way.”