Cricket news 2023: Ricky Ponting prediction comes true as World Cup looms

Ricky Ponting has a reputation as the Nostradamus of the cricket world, with a track record of spooky predictions coming true regularly courtesy of his encyclopaedic knowledge of the game.

Speaking to news.com.au ahead of the Australia vs. India ODI series, Ponting said he was unconcerned by the Australian batting order’s various capitulations during the previous tour of South Africa.

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The Australians gave up a 2-0 series lead to lose the series 3-2 to the hosts, not batting longer than 35 overs in any of the three losses.

“I always find judging Australian teams outside of major tournaments really difficult, because I think that the last four or five years in particular, it‘s been very rare that we put our best team out ever,” Ponting told news.com.au.

“And that’s happened again. In that series (South Africa), we’ve got off to a flying start, everything looked great the first two games, the results were exactly the way that we wanted them to be, but I can see what they’re trying to do, and they’re trying to get exposure to some of these leading into a World Cup.

“You don‘t want to go into a World Cup with a lot of guys that haven’t got much experience, or have an injury like Travis (Head) on the eve of the World Cup, and then you’ve got to find someone to fit into the top order somewhere, so they’re trying to share the load around a little bit and when you’re doing that, you’re going to have ups and downs with the team performance.”

Ponting said he was looking forward to the limited overs tour of India, with the eventual return of the Australian side to full strength.

“I honestly feel once they get to India, and the big boys are back around the group, the team will probably have a slightly different look to it, I reckon, to what it had in South Africa,” he said at the time.

Australia lost the first two games of the series comprehensively, but with a rejigged team at full strength, minus an injured Travis Head and injured Adam Zampa who made way for Tanveer Sangha (who may still feature in the tournament), came back to win the last ODI in a canter.

The show of strength was vindication for Ponting, and will give hope to Australian fans who held concern from the team’s stuttering preparation.

Ponting maintains that Australia are “one of the favourites” for the World Cup, and looked back to his team’s triumph in 2007 in the West Indies.

“Right now, I still think Australia are one of the favourites in the tournament,” he said.

“ Let‘s say you have 10 games to play before the World Cup – you probably don’t want to be playing your best cricket through those 10 games when you’ve got the bigger games on the other side of that.

“In 2007 going to the West Indies, we played a series against New Zealand in New Zealand. Batted first every time, made 250 every game, lost every game.

“When we got to the West Indies, everyone was saying ‘how can you win?’. Just take it easy, we didn’t have half of our squad there (in South Africa). The World Cup’s a different story for us. Come back and ask me that question at the end of the World Cup.”

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