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Shubhman Gill could start at top and KL Rahul could move down in middle order: Ricky Ponting suggests potential change to India’s batting order for WTC final

New Delhi : Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting feels that both Shubhman Gill and KL Rahul should be part of India’s batting order, should India reach the World Test Championship final.
Right-hander Rahul was recently dropped for Gill at the top of India’s batting order, but Ponting thinks there is a way that both players can feature at The Oval.

“With someone like KL Rahul having gone out of this side and Shubman Gill having come in, both these guys have played a bit of Test match cricket and you could potentially have both of those guys in the same team,” Ponting on the latest episode of The ICC Review.

Rahul has scored two of his seven Test centuries in England – including an impressive 149 at The Oval back in 2018 – and former thinks the 30-year-old could be an option to be utilised in the middle-order.

“Maybe Shubman could start at the top and KL could potentially move down into the middle order, because he’s played cricket in those (English) conditions before, albeit at the top of the order.

“But one thing we know about the UK is that the ball swings for long periods of time during the day. And if the overhead conditions are suitable, then the ball tends to swing right the way through an innings,” he said.

The Australian great has also thrown his support behind out of form batter Virat Kohli and said: “I’m not looking at anybody’s form in this Test series because, for a batsman, it has just been an absolute, it’s been a nightmare.”

“For Virat, I’ve said it before I say it over and over. Champion players always find a way, and yes, it might seem like he’s in a bit of a drought at the moment and he might not be scoring the runs that we all expect him to score.

“And certainly, you know, he’s a realist as well. And we all know as batsmen, when you’re struggling and not scoring runs, you don’t need anybody else to tell you. You’re pretty aware of it yourself.
“But no, I’m every day of the week putting my hand up and not even showing any sort of concern to Virat Kohli. Because I know he will bounce back,” Ponting said.

Ponting urged both India and Australia to be adaptable to the English conditions and select the best XI they think can prosper during the one-off Test showpiece in June.

“Because it’s just a one-off Test match, it will be really important to pick the team that you think is going to have the most success in those conditions,” he noted. “The Oval can be a really, really good place to bat as long as the sun is out, it’s probably as good a wicket as any in the UK.

So I think that’s what it would come down to for India. It would just come down to assessing the conditions and then maybe forgetting about this last series that’s just been played.

“The conditions that we’re seeing here (in India) are quite extreme. If it was Australia and India, they would both look at the conditions and pick the team that they think was best to win that one-off game.”


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