Says Pant’s “learning experiences” over the past year and a half will make him a “better leader and person.”
Well before becoming the head coach of Delhi Capitals (then Daredevils) in 2018, Ponting had coached Mumbai Indians and guided Rohit’s captaincy from 2013 to 2016, helping the franchise to two IPL titles, in 2013 and 2015. Rohit has since has become one of the best players in all formats for India and has taken over the India captaincy in at least two formats.
Pant is now in a similar situation. A vital player of all sizes for India, early twenties, a new IPL captain and a potential future India captain, also being looked after by Ponting.
“I actually hadn’t thought about that, but they’re actually a lot alike,” Ponting said of the Rohit-Pant comparison a day before the two teams he coached faced each other in IPL 2022. “When Rohit took over in Mumbai, he was also quite a young man and had started out in his international cricket, he was probably very similar [in age]Not sure how old he was but he would have been 23-24, similar to Rishabh here in the Delhi Capitals.
“To be honest, they’re pretty similar people. I know they’re great friends and they talk all the time and they probably also exchange things about leadership and captaincy. Rohit probably doesn’t want to give away too many secrets because we’re talking about going to play against him for a few days (laughs) I think there is every chance for Rishabh’s journey to be on a par with Rohit Sharma’s. He is a young captain of a successful franchise and continues to grow on a daily basis and hopefully Rishabh can have the same kind of success that Rohit had with the Mumbai Indians And with some experience in a role like this in a high pressure tournament like the IPL I have no doubts over the years there is every chance that Rishabh could become an international captain can be. No doubt about it.”
The way both Rohit and Pant got their IPL captaincy was also similar; Rohit took over from Ponting midway through the season in 2013 and Pant was handed the last IPL after Shreyas Iyer suffered a shoulder injury.
Now in his fifth season with Capitals, Ponting has overseen Pant’s evolution not only as a captain, but also as a player and individual, after Pant was bought by Daredevils in the 2016 auction. Since then, Pant has played 84 games for them to rack up 2,498 runs, averaging 35.18 and striking 147.46, and has quickly moved up the ladder to take over as a long-term captain.
Ponting said the “learning experiences” Pant has had with India over the past 12-18 months and in the IPL will make him a “better leader and person”.
“His evolution – not just last year, this is my fifth season now with the Delhi Capitals – and his evolution as a player and as a person has been quite dramatic,” Ponting said. “Over the last few years with a little more responsibility in and around the Indian team and captaining the Delhi Capitals last season, he has gained many learning experiences over the past 12-18 months that will continue to help him become a better leader and person in a I know Rishabh very well and that’s what he talks about all the time, trying to find ways to improve.
“There is no doubt that his maturity over the past 12-18 months with his game and also with his leadership and captaincy has been outstanding. It is also a big part of my job to try to help and guide him and get Rishabh on push the right path towards where I can. But when he says that, he has a very good understanding of what leadership is all about, because he has been on successful teams and he has been under strong leaders in the past. It’s up to me, if there’s anything I can help him with, I’ll do it on the way.”
Ponting will now hope he can help Pant lift the IPL trophy in two months and boldly ask the BCCI for a “captaincy grooming bonus” they never knew owed him.