ShivaniLAST UPDATED: Nov. 19, 2020, 3:25 p.m.
New Delhi: Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has said that India is so not ready to defeat Australia in the upcoming four-match series. Problems for the already unsettled team has risen even more with Indian skipper opting for paternity leave for the last three matches, believes Ponting.
Meanwhile, for Australia, Steve Smith and David Warner have returned to the team who could not be a part of the Border-Gavaskar trophy in 2018-19 due to their suspension and going by their test statistics, it is clear that they will pose as the biggest threat to India.
"The one thing we haven't spoken enough about is yes India were really good here last time, but with those guys (Smith and Warner) missing at the top of the order, that leaves a big gap in any team," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
Pointing further added that Kohli's shoes as a batsman and as a captain are not something that can be filled by anyone, particularly in Australia. If Ajinkya takes up captaincy in his absence, it will definitely put pressure on him as a batsman, he said.
"India will feel that without Kohli there (for three Tests), for his batting and leadership, that will put all sorts of pressure on different players. You'd think (Ajinkya) Rahane will take over the captaincy, which will put extra pressure on him, and they've got to find someone to bat at that really important No.4 spot," he added.
Focusing on the instability of the batting order, Pointing said India will not be clear in their own mind when the skipper returns home.
"I don't think they'll be clear in their own mind, even now, what their batting order will look like for the first Test. Who's going to open, who'll bat at four when Kohli goes?" said Ponting.
"(Fast bowlers Mohammad) Shami, Jasprit Bumrah - will it be Ishant (Sharma), with it be Umesh Yadav, will it be a young guy like (Navdeep) Saini or (Mohammad) Siraj? The questions that are being asked around Australia with (Will) Pucovski and (Cameron) Green, I think India have got a few more questions to answer," he added.
Talking about Australian side, Ponting said, Australia should stick with the opening combination of Joe Burns and David Warner for the Adelaide Test.
"Burns hasn't done much wrong. If you go back to last summer, he played really well in the first Test in Brisbane and I remember saying then to lock him in and give him a good go at it for a while," Ponting said.
Ponting further said,”I know when I was captain, I had a pretty strong philosophy with the selectors that once you’re in my team, I wanted to do everything I could to make sure you stayed there.”
India will play three ODIs, three T20s and four Tests starting November 27. The ODI and T20 series will be played in Sydney and Canberra from November 27 to December 8.
While the first test will be played in Adelaide, the final three Tests will played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (December 26-30), the Sydney Cricket Ground (January 7-11) and the Gabba (January 15-19).