Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has made a bold prediction for the upcoming India-Australia Test series by saying that Usman Khawaja will outscore Indian skipper Virat Kohli.
The 43-year-old also predicted that India, despite being dubbed by many as favourites, will not win the series and said that Australia will pip India to a 2-1 victory.
Speaking about Khawaja, Ponting said that the batsman is on top of his game and he will not only end up as the leading run-scorer in the Test series but also be adjudged the player of the series.
"He's (Khawaja) on top of his game, his record in Australia is outstanding. As much of a threat that the Indian fast bowlers might pose, I think he's got a game that can cope with it here in Australia.
"I'm going with him to be the leading run scorer and man of the series," cricket.com.au reported Ponting as saying.
"Right now he's in a really good place, the selectors backed him through that UAE tour, gave him a chance and he came out (better) on the other side of that.
"With the skill that he's got and maybe a bit more belief in his own game than ever before, I think he's got the perfect package to have a great summer."
Ponting also said that he would want the pitches to have grass on them which will favour the Australian bowlers and help them keep their 40-year record of being unbeaten against India intact.
"I'd love to see the pitches have a little bit in them because I think our batters will bat better against their (bowlers) with something in them than their (batters) will against ours," Ponting explained.
"We're talking 40 years of history with India coming to Australia and not being able to win because of the fast, bouncy nature of our pitches so I'd love to see them that way."
"I'd like to see a little bit of grass left on them (pitches) for the first two (tests) and then I think Australian can put the series to bed after two Tests."
Ponting believes that the potentially lively pitches will Kohli's undoing which will result in Khawaja outscoring the free-scoring Indian.
"(Khawaja) will just pip Kohli. Kohli will play well I'm sure because he does everywhere he goes and had a great series against Australia last time.
"Just where they're starting in Adelaide and Perth – if they leave something in them, Kohli is a bit more vulnerable in those conditions than Melbourne and Sydney."
Kohli hit four centuries the last time he visited Australia for a Test series scoring 692 runs at an average of 86.50 which was only bettered by Steve Smith.
Smith will miss the upcoming Test series along with David Warner as they continue to serve the year-long ban imposed on them by Cricket Australia for the ball tampering incident in Cape Town earlier this year.