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HomeWTC Final: David Warner, Ravichandran Ashwin snubbed as Ricky Ponting picks combined...

WTC Final: David Warner, Ravichandran Ashwin snubbed as Ricky Ponting picks combined Test XI

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By India Today Sports Desk: Australian great Ricky Ponting revealed his combined Test XI by picking players from the Australia and India squads ahead of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final.

The WTC final will take place from June 7-11 at the Oval. Ahead of the contest, Ponting based his selection on recent form rather than reputation, aiming for a balance between left and right-handed players.

At the top of the order, Ponting chose Rohit Sharma and Usman Khawaja ahead of David Warner as the opening batters, with Rohit named as the team’s captain due to his leadership experience. Marnus Labuschagne was selected as the No.3 for his exceptional performance in recent years.

“I’ll start with Usman Khawaja. His last couple of years, whether it has been in Australia or away, have been outstanding at the top of the order,” Ponting said on The ICC Review podcast. “I’m going left hand-right hand, so I’ll go for Rohit Sharma as the other opener. He’s not just entirely form-based either. I wanted him to be captain of the side.

“Since he (Labuschagne) came into Test cricket as a concussion sub at Lord’s when Steve Smith got hit by Jofra Archer, he’s hardly put a foot wrong,” Ponting said. “He’s improved and come on in leaps and bounds to be where he is now, right at the top of the world Test Batting Rankings, so it was pretty hard to go past him.”

Ponting then picked Virat Kohli and Steve Smith, two of the greatest batters of the last decade, for the middle order. Ravindra Jadeja, whose batting has significantly improved in Test cricket, was chosen as the all-rounder.

“Pretty hard to go past the next couple I’ve got in the batting line-up, which are Virat Kohli and Steve Smith,” Ponting said. “If you talk about great players of the last decade, both of these guys will be right at the top of anyone’s list. Both with exceptional Test records and both make a lot of hundreds.

“What I’ve seen with Ravi Jadeja the last two or three years in Test cricket is how much his batting has improved, and he can easily hold down a number six or number seven spot.”

Ponting selected Alex Carey as the wicket-keeper, acknowledging his exceptional keeping skills. The bowling attack consisted of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Mohammad Shami, and Nathan Lyon. Ponting praised Starc’s outstanding performance in the past year and Shami’s recent form in Test cricket.

With a formidable lineup, Ponting expressed confidence in his combined XI, stating that he wouldn’t want to be on the opposing team facing them. He emphasised that the team had all bases covered and anticipated an intriguing World Test Championship final.

Ricky Ponting’s combined India-Australia Test XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Ravindra Jadeja, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Mohammed Shami

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