The 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia is less than three months away and former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has named his favourites for the tournament and Pakistan is not among them.
In the latest episode of the ICC Review, the 47-year-old acknowledged the class of star pacer Shaheen Afridi and the guile of Mohammad Rizwan at the top of the order, he said their batting line-up is too reliant on captain and No.1 ranked batter, Babar Azam.
“If Babar doesn’t have a great tournament, I don’t think they can win,” Ponting said.
“I saw him up close and personal a couple of years ago out here in a Test series against Australia and I said it then, I thought the sky was the limit for this guy as far as Test match batting (was concerned) and, if anything, he’s probably got better and better in the last couple of years.
“Their openers are very important and their new-ball bowlers are very important, but that role of the spin bowler in Australia might be a little bit more difficult with wickets that probably won’t give them assistance.”
Meanwhile, Ponting considered Australia and India the favorites to lift the title.
“I think India and Australia will be the two playing in the final and I will just have to say that Australia will beat them in the final,” Ponting declared.
“The reigning champions have got home conditions and that was one thing that made Australia’s win in the last World Cup, not remarkable, but that little bit sweeter for them.
“The fact that a lot of people, me included, thought when they went to UAE, the conditions that they were going to have to face on the back of the IPL, I thought the conditions might have been the thing that might not have allowed them to win it.
Ponting also rated England as a real threat to other teams.
“I actually think England are an outstanding white-ball team and they have an outstanding white-ball setup,” Ponting said.
“I just think the three teams on paper that look to have most class and the most match-winners are India, Australia and England.”
Ponting gives a few other sides an outside chance of riding their luck all the way and at least making it to the title decider at the MCG on November 13.
“I know the game too well and any of New Zealand, Pakistan or West Indies even – we know how they tend to love playing this game and they’re probably most suited to the T20 format.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if any of those sides find their way through to the final.