‘They asked what I thought when he was picked in India's T20 World Cup team. I said…': Ricky Ponting on Rishabh Pant | Crickit

‘They asked what I thought when he was picked in India's T20 World Cup team. I said…': Ricky Ponting on Rishabh Pant

May 28, 2024 01:31 PM IST

Ricky Ponting said Rishabh Pant will have an ‘impactful’ T20 World Cup for India.

Very few believed Rishabh Pant could make it to India's T20 World Cup squad this year. Ricky Ponting was one of them. There were also doubts about his participation. Only as a batter, maybe: Even Pant's biggest supports thought. But the Delhi Capitals captain never had an iota of doubt. He not only returned to the side as the leader but also performed well with the bat and behind the stumps to rightfully claim his spot back in India's World Cup-bound squad.

Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting and skipper Rishabh Pant(PTI)
Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting and skipper Rishabh Pant(PTI)

Pant was out of action for 15 months. The horrific car crash he suffered a couple of days before New Year (2023) damaged his knees so much that he needed multiple operations. The left-handed keeper-batter could not even walk properly during last year's IPL. He was on crutches. From there to get fit for IPL and displaying the kind of performance he did, was remarkable even by Pant's lofty standards.

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“I was asked when I was over there what I thought about him (Rishabh Pant),” Ponting told ICC. He'd been picked in the Indian squad, and I basically said he'd be one of the first players picked, and sure enough, he was. So, great to see him back out there playing again. I've enjoyed every moment of working with him. Obviously, he's been the captain of the Delhi Capitals, and I've been the coach there."

Pant led DC from the front and smashed 446 runs at an average of 40.54 and a strike-rate of 155.40. Ponting wished the left-hander an impactful World Cup in the Americas. “But it's been a remarkable comeback, and hopefully he has a huge impact on this World Cup.”

Ponting surprised by Pant's keeping brilliance

The former Australia skipper, there were no concerns about Pant's batting. It was his keeping that kept everyone in the DC management worried. Such was his injury that squatting would always become an issue.

“No one had real concerns about his batting, because of how good he is and how dynamic he is with the bat,” Ponting said. But with his wicket-keeping and having to squat every ball for 14 games (13) in a row, there were certainly some concerns there. It's been nothing short of spectacular, to be honest,” Ponting added.

Pant claimed a joint-highest 16 dismissals behind the stumps in IPL 2014.

“I spent a few months with him in the middle of the IPL last year, which was only sort of three or four months after his accident.

“And I had grave fears then that he would never play the game again. What he'd been through psychologically, but what he'd been through physically. At that stage, he still couldn't walk.

“He was on crutches. And I remember saying to him, what do you think about next season? He just looked at me and said, don't worry, I'll be right. And he's looked after himself incredibly well.

“The Delhi Capitals franchise has done a great job looking after him. Patrick Farhart has been his physio. He's done a great job with him as well.”

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