Legendary Australian skipper Ricky Ponting spoke about the importance of the World Test Championship final in the contemporary era of cricket, saying the one-off event can be compared to a Cricket World Cup final. India will play Australia at The Oval in the one-off WTC final from June 7 to 11.
"It's like a World Cup final, for a Test match. In a World Cup, you play 10 or 12 games to be good enough to earn the right to win a mace like that. These two teams have over the last two years have earned the right to be out here, in a couple of days time, in a one-off game, to be able to hold that thing (mace) at the end," said Ponting at a pre-game live event organised by ICC.
With Rohit Sharma set to captain the Test team on overseas soil for the first time, India will be aiming to go one step further through their second straight WTC final appearance against Australia at The Oval, who will be hosting a Test match in June for the very first time.
"I think that players from both teams need to go out there and put out the best spectacle they possibly can. Play real aggressive Test match cricket, make sure we get a result and make sure the fans get what they deserve to see," added Ponting.
Legendary Pakistan left-arm pace Wasim Akram emphasised on the fact that Australia and India were the two best sides in the world at the moment and deserved to be in the final after a rigorous two-year cycle.
"They have proved it consistently over the last couple of years, and that's why they are here for this mace. All the other teams are trying to follow their mindset: That we are going to go for a win."
"The way Pat Cummins bowled against Pakistan in the last Test match in the last session, (it showed) that they were all gunning for this final. They are the well-deserved teams and meant to be here in the final," he added.
Former India cricketer Ravi Shastri, who had coached India during the last WTC final in runners-up finish to New Zealand at Southampton in 2021, recalled that his side gave the inaugural WTC final the utmost respect it deserves.
"You feel that game (final) is the pinnacle. It's for what you've done over the last two years, you've reached where you have to be one of the top two teams. And you go head-to-head. It's something every cricketer will hope for in his career. To be able to play a final and win it."
Asked about the impact of the Dukes ball, which neither India nor Australia use regularly, could have on the Test as well as the challenge posed by the conditions, Ponting said, "It's different from what Indians use, it's different from what we use."
"It's a neutral ball in a neutral venue and we know how this ball does react, you know, this ball does more for longer during the course of the day's play."