Ponting comments come after concerns were raised over the hosts’ performance along with the extra pressure that comes with playing in front of “fervent fans”, but the Indian team dismissed all doubts and has comprehensively won all three of their games.
“I said from the start that I think they’re going to be the team to beat. They’ve got a very talented team,” Ponting said in remarks published by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday.
The three-time World Cup winner stated that the Indian team has a complete side with their fast bowling, their spin and their top-order, middle-order batting and would be extremely hard to beat.
“They’ve got all bases covered with their fast bowling, their spin and their top-order, middle-order batting … They’re going to be extremely hard to beat. But we’ll see how they hold up under extreme pressure as well,” Ponting said.
He lauded Rohit Sharma as an “ideal captain” to lead the Indian side as the Blue team looks to chase the World Cup title on home soil.
According to the two-time World Cup-winning captain, Sharma is the key to India rising to the occasion even while surrounded by passionate home support.
“He’s very laid back, Rohit. Very laid back with everything he does,” Ponting stated while speaking to the ICC.
“You can even see that by the way that he plays. He’s a pretty laconic sort of batsman as well, and that’s the way he is both on and off the field,” he added.
The Australian skipper stated that the pressure will get to the Indian players because of the enormity of the tournament, however, the Indian skipper can take the pressure and cope with it as well as anyone.
“We can’t sit back and say that the pressure won’t get to them at some stage, or it won’t affect them, because it will, just with the enormity of the tournament. But he’ll take it and cope with it as well as probably anyone,” he said.
Ponting added that Sharma is a more secure captain than the former Indian skipper, Virat Kohli, who according to the Australian would find it a bit harder because of his ability to wear his “heart-on-the-sleeve” when he walks out.
Sharma took the reigns of captaincy for the ODIs from Virat Kohli in 2021 after the once-in-a-generation-batter had struggled to get his side over the line in repeated ICC events.
He also added that it would be better for Kohli to focus on his “starring role with the bat”.
“Someone like Virat, who is a bit more heart-on-the-sleeve, and probably listens to the fans and plays up with the fans a little bit more, someone with his personality would probably find it a bit harder,” he said.
He added that Sharma has done a great job as a leader for the Indian side and would be a better option as he is able to cope with pressure differently.
“But I think Rohit will be fine with it. He’s a terrific bloke and has been a great player for a long time, and he’s done a great job as leader of India,” he added.
Source : Dawn