Ponting Predicts Australia's Playing XI For WTC Final, Adds Surprise Pick

1 year ago 78

File photo of Ricky Ponting© Twitter

Australian great Ricky Ponting has backed the addition of Michael Neser to Australia's squad for the ICC World Test Championship final but would turn to another pacer in the decider against India. Australia will play against India in the ICC World Test Championship final that begins on June 7 at the Oval. All-rounder Neser looms as another fast-bowling option for Australia but will first need to be added to their 15-player WTC squad when it is confirmed by Sunday, May 28. The 33-year-old Neser has pressed his claims for a spot in the WTC final squad during an outstanding stint in the County Championship in which he has picked 19 wickets and 311 runs in five matches.

Neser has played only two Tests for Australia - in 2021 and 2022, both at the Adelaide Oval - but is a chance for a late call-up to the WTC final squad as Josh Hazlewood (side) and Marsh (adductor) return from injury.

"He will be a terrific bowler in English conditions. We have already seen that in County cricket. He's perfectly suited to those conditions. He was probably a little bit unlucky not to be named in this squad right from the start, and certainly even in the Ashes squad, right from the start, just with the conditions," Ponting said on the latest episode of The ICC Review.

"Neser has just come off some wickets. He got a very good hundred as well in the second innings of that last County game that they played. He's one of that no-fuss sort of guys that is a very skilful player, and the skill set that he has is actually very well suited to England," Ponting added.

Ponting feels Australia will otherwise turn to the line-up that has served them so well in recent times and guided the side to the top of the WTC standings.

Australia finished the 2021-23 WTC cycle with 152 points from 19 Tests for 66.67% of their possible points, while India were next best with 127 points from 18 Tests and 58.8%.

Australia great Ponting expects late-blooming quick Scott Boland to be named in the starting XI for the ICC World Test Championship final that begins on June 7 at the Oval, should Josh Hazlewood not be fit.

"Boland's record when he's played over the last 12 months has been absolutely outstanding. He's one that would really, potentially thrive in these English conditions," Ponting said.

Ricky Ponting's predicted Australia XI (if Hazlewood is unfit)

Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland.

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