'India should've picked Suryakumar but they have a Pant-like player': Ponting | Crickit
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'India should've picked Suryakumar but they have a Pant-like player': Ponting's outrageous 'X-factor' pick for WTC final

May 20, 2023 10:13 AM IST

Ponting expressed surprise over Suryakumar Yadav's omission from the Indian WTC final squad but made an outrageous pick for "X-factor" for the summit clash.

In another fortnight, world cricket's focus will shift completely from the riveting IPL 2023 season to the traditional format for the game as India will take on Australia for the World Test Championship title at The Oval starting June 7. And with the contest drawing forward by the day, discussions around both the squad, the possible playing XI and prediction of the outcome are slowly building up with Australia great Ricky Ponting kickstarting the proceedings. On Friday, he expressed surprise over Suryakumar Yadav's omission from the Indian Test squad but made an outrageous pick for "X-factor" for the summit clash.

Rishabh Pant; Ricky Ponting; Suryakumar Yadav
Rishabh Pant; Ricky Ponting; Suryakumar Yadav

With India wanting to capitalise on his T20 form and Shreyas Iyer's injury offering that opportunity to the management, Suryakumar was handed his Test cap earlier this year in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series. However, he had failed to impress in the only chance he managed and was later dropped from the original squad for the WTC Final. The 32-year-old was later added to the team as a reserve player alongside Ruturaj Gaikwad and Mukesh Kumar.

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When asked if Suryakumar should have been part of the main squad, Ponting said "yes" as he admitted that the omission surprised him. The former Australia captain however pointed out at a Rishabh Pant-like player in the Indian squad and hailed him as an "X-factor" for the WTC final.

"But there is another X-factor that has just been added in Ishan Kishan. If you look at the way he plays, he is probably the most like Rishabh Pant with his potential to keep and bat in the middle order. If they do play those guys they should be given the right to play an aggressive brand of cricket," he explained.

Ishan was added to the squad as a replacement for KL Rahul, who had injured himself during the ongoing IPL 2023 earlier this month, as a second wicketkeeping option after KS Bharat. Ishan is yet to make his debut for India in Test cricket.

"With the injury issues India have got, they can go with few different ways, especially in batting. Before Rahul's injury I had him in the eleven, now that he is not there, they need to pick Ishan or K S Bharat," said the three-time ODI World Cup winner," Ponting added.

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