DUBAI: Ricky Ponting won't assess Virat Kohli's form on the basis of his performance in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy because the pitches have been a ''nightmare'' for all batters in the contest so far.
Kohli, who has not scored a fifty in his last 14 innings, has managed just 111 runs in three Tests against Australia but Ponting is not worried about lack of runs.
''I'm not looking at anybody's form in this Test series because, for a batsman, it has just been an absolute, it's been a nightmare,'' Ponting told ICC Review.
''For Virat, I've said it before I say it over and over. Champion players always find a way, and yes, it might seem like he's in a bit of a drought at the moment and he might not be scoring the runs that we all expect him to score.'' ''And certainly, you know, he's a realist as well. And we all know as batsmen, when you're struggling and not scoring runs, you don't need anybody else to tell you. You're pretty aware of it yourself.
''But no, I'm every day of the week putting my hand up and not even showing any sort of concern to Virat Kohli. Because I know he will bounce back.'' Having played in England multiple times as part of the Ashes, Ponting is aware that the conditions in England in June will be vastly different to what the teams are currently facing in the sub-continent.
The 48-year-old, who occupies the third place in the list of cricketers with most number of international centuries, said India should also consider tweaking their batting order should they qualify for the ICC World Test Championship Final at The Oval in June.
''With someone like KL Rahul having gone out of this side and Shubman Gill having come in, both these guys have played a bit of Test match cricket and you could potentially have both of those guys in the same team,'' Ponting said.
Gill was included in the playing XI for the third Test ahead of Rahul, who scored just 38 runs in three innings of the first two Tests in Nagpur and Delhi.
However, Rahul has scored two of his seven Test hundreds in English conditions and Ponting feels there could be a way to play both him and Gill at The Oval.
''Maybe Shubman could start at the top and KL could potentially move down into the middle order, because he's played cricket in those (English) conditions before, albeit at the top of the order. ''But one thing we know about the UK is that the ball swings for long periods of time during the day. And if the overhead conditions are suitable, then the ball tends to swing right the way through an innings.'' India will have to assess the conditions and adapt quickly to the English conditions and also ensure they have the best XI during the one-off Test showpiece.
''Because it's just a one-off Test match, it will be really important to pick the team that you think is going to have the most success in those conditions,'' Ponting said.
''The Oval can be a really, really good place to bat as long as the sun is out, it's probably as good a wicket as any in the UK. So I think that's what it would come down to for India. It would just come down to assessing the conditions and then maybe forgetting about this last series that's just been played.
''The conditions that we're seeing here (in India) are quite extreme. If it was Australia and India, they would both look at the conditions and pick the team that they think was best to win that one-off game.''
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