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Ricky Ponting backs Virat Kohli to excel as opener in T20 World Cup 2024

Ponting remains confident in Kohli’s ability to deliver on cricket’s biggest stage

Ricky Ponting backs Virat Kohli to excel as opener in T20 World Cup 2024 PHOTO: AFP

Former Australian cricketer, Ricky Ponting has voiced his strong support for Virat Kohli, emphasizing that the star batsman remains indispensable to India's squad for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. 

Ponting also shared his insights on where Kohli should bat during the tournament.

Kohli has been in outstanding form in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and has amassed a tournament-best 708 runs from 14 innings. Despite his prolific run-scoring, concerns have been raised about his strike rate at the top of the order.

Ponting addressed these concerns, stating that while modern T20 cricket emphasizes strike rates over averages, Kohli’s importance to India’s fortunes remains undiminished.

“The mantra I think for the teams three or four years ago, was making sure that someone at the top of the order made 80 or 100, even if it took them 60 balls, it didn't really matter,” Ponting said.

“I think it's sort of shifting now to be more of a strike rate based game where you can have a massive impact on a game with a 40 off 15 balls rather than getting an 80 off 55 balls sort of thing," he further added.

While Kohli has traditionally batted at No.3 for India in T20Is, Ponting believes that he should open alongside skipper Rohit Sharma in the World Cup. This selection, however, poses a dilemma for the Indian selectors, who must also consider the promising Yashasvi Jaiswal.

“They (selectors) have still got a decision to make because (Yashasvi) Jaiswal is in that squad and one thing they haven't got a lot in their team is left-hand batters. So they've got a decision to make with Jaiswal, but I'm pretty sure that they'll go with Kohli and Rohit Sharma (as openers)," Ponting said.

Ponting remains confident in Kohli’s ability to deliver on cricket’s biggest stage, dismissing doubts about his place in the team. 

“I remember having this chat and some other chats I did for the ICC about there's some talk about Virat not being in their team only last year, but what happened when the big games come around, he was one of the guys who got the job done. So class and experience like that, you can't replace," he concluded.