'It is going to take a very good player to knock him out': Ponting showers praise on India youngster, makes tall claim

  • Impressed highly with the India youngster, Ricky Ponting feels it is going to take a really special player to knock the 23-year-old out of the national team in all three formats. 
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting. (Getty)
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting. (Getty)
Updated on Sep 23, 2021 07:04 PM IST
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Byhindustantimes.com, New Delhi

It is no secret that Indian cricket’s bench strength is the strongest in the world. In fact, it could be estimated by the fact that not too long ago, two Indian cricket teams were playing against different opponents in different parts of the world at the same time. The Virat Kohli-led Indian Test team was in England for a five-Test series, while another squad was playing a limited-over series in Sri Lanka. If that isn’t a testament to how much strength it punches, nothing will. At the moment, India have almost 50 players ready for the international stage.

The current Indian team is filled with star-stuffed seniors and promising youngsters, and one star-studded youngster in Rishabh Pant. Since making his comeback into the Indian Test team, pant has glittered in almost every series, and seeing the 23-year-old make rapid strides in all forms of cricket has impressed his coach at Delhi Capitals, Ricky Ponting.

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The former Australia captain has always held Pant in the highest of regards, observing and tracking his progress at DC. One of the things that has really surprised Ponting, an in a good way, is watching how much Pant has matured in the last couple of years.

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"I think his level of maturity in the last couple of seasons has gone through the roof. When I first came here, Rishabh was just starting to burst on to the scene, if you like, and I made a pretty big call in the Australian summer last year when Rishabh finally made his way back into the Test team, that I felt there and then that we were going to see the unearthing of someone who could be a star Test-match player for India for some time, and what he has done since then, the last 18 months now, in the international stage is nothing short of sensational," Ponting said.

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Pant has evolved into becoming India's first-choice wicketkeeper in Tests, ODIs and T20Is, pushing Wriddhiman Saha down in the pecking order and shutting the door on someone like a Sanju Samson. On current form, Ponting figures it will take a really special player to shove Pant out of the Indian team in all three formats.

"I could see that coming. Because I could see how much his game had developed, I could see how much he had matured, and I could also see how much he wanted to be in every Indian team. Now I think it is going to take a very good player to knock him out of one of those positions in any of those three teams," the former Australia captain added.

Monitoring Pant's progress at the Capitals and weighing on at his leadership skills, Ponting explained how the young wicketkeeper batsman was thriving in his role as vice-captain previously. That is why when Shreyas Iyer was first ruled out of the IPL, Pant became the automatic choice to take over as captain of the side, and having led DC to the top of the points-table, it’s safe to say that he’s done a bloody good job while at it.

"When he wasn't captain [at the Capitals], he was an exceptional vice-captain. He has taken over the reins for this IPL and he has done a terrific job so far, and I have enjoyed every moment of working alongside him, as I have with all the rest of the boys. We are all striving for something special around the Delhi Capitals franchise. We got close last year, making it to the final. But this year we want to go one step further. And obviously Rishabh is going to be a big part of that," added Ponting.

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