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International Cricket Council Hall of Famer Ricky Ponting on Friday said that the anticipation for the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) Final was palpable and that fans should expect an exciting contest next month when Australia and India clash at The Oval.
Ponting, who is an ambassador for the WTC Final, was speaking at a media event in New Delhi, during which he also interacted with aspiring young cricketers, speaking to them about the importance of the longest format of the game.
“The fact that we are here today, about 20 days out from the World Test Championship Final starting 7 June, I think it goes to show what sort of excitement there is around this one-off Test match really. I think the ICC has to be applauded for making this possible.
“Obviously we know that New Zealand were too good a couple of years ago and now we see the two best teams over the last two years in Australia and India go head-to-head at The Oval.”
The WTC Final, to be played from 7 to 11 June with the provision of a reserve day, is the culmination of a two-year cycle that featured the world’s top nine teams and saw 69 Tests played across continents.
The final at The Oval will be the first neutral Test to be played at the iconic venue and the first time that Australia and India will play at a neutral venue.
“This won’t just be an everyday, ordinary Test match. There’s a lot more on the line here. Both teams will want to be recognised as being the best Test team in the world over these last couple of years.
“So, it’s fantastic to think that you have Australia and India playing at a neutral venue in a one-off Test. And the winner will be holding that thing (Mace) up at the end. I think it becomes ultra-exciting.”
Ponting felt the Australia-India rivalry was now as big as any other in international cricket.
“That rivalry has grown and grown and grown to the point now where you actually hear a lot of the younger Australian players’ talk that that rivalry is almost as big as the Australia-England rivalry.”
India are playing Australia in what will be their second successive WTC Final, having lost to New Zealand last time in Southampton two years ago.
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