Ponting predicts India-Aus final in 2015 World Cup
‘I think Australia will meet India in the 2015 World Cup final. It will be an interesting match-up between two great batting sides and an ideal setting for a World Cup final,’ Ponting said at the Aaj Tak conclave ‘Salaam Cricket’. Sitting amid an elite panel of World Cup-winning captains, Ponting was frank in his admission that the Michael Clarke-led Aussie outfit will be a force to reckon with on its home ground.
‘Surely, Australia will emerge champions,’ said Ponting, breaking the hearts of many an Indian audience seated in the hall of a city hotel on Saturday.
‘New Zealand are definitely the dark horses. They are unbelievably good at home. The have the best depth in their team with regard to fast bowlers and allrounders,’ he added.
After being involved in over 160 Tests and 370 ODIs, Ponting accumulated 27,082 runs to become Australia’s leading run-scorer in Test and ODI cricket. Ponting opined that Aussie batsmen David Warner will be the one to watch out for in the 11th edition of the 50-over World Cup.
‘Power-hitters are a welcome change in the 50-over game and I believe Warner is going to have maximum impact in the World Cup. David Warner will be the player for Australia. In the last 12 months he has been playing really well, be it Test cricket, ODIs or T20s. If he can give a flying start with new balls from both ends, Australia will be going one way and that will be to win,’ said Ponting, who was also part of the 1999 World Cup winning Australia squad.
Ponting, who led Australia to win the quadrennial event in 2003 and 2007, rued that though the game has seen a change for the better in the last five years the art of bowling yorkers has not improved since the time of the great Wasim Akram and Curtly Ambrose.
‘Wasim and (Curtly) Ambrose were the best when it came to bowling yorkers and death bowling. It’s disappointing to see bowlers not being able to carry their legacy forward. Though cricket has improved, this facet (bowling yorkers) continues to lag behind,’ said Ponting. .
On being asked about the kind of impact that the India-Australia series in December-January will have on the team’s World Cup chances, Ponting said that once the mega event starts everything else fades off.
‘Nothing counts when the World Cup starts. Whether you win or lose, does not matter. When World Cup starts, you forget everything and start a new chapter. So I don’t think the series will have a bearing on the tournament,’ opined Ponting.
But the 39-year-old Tasmanian insisted that it will be crucial how Mahendra Singh Dhoni and the think-tank manage the players in the series Down Under, leading up to the World Cup.