Rishabh Pant could be a successful captain of India if given the responsibility in the future, Ricky Ponting said on Saturday.
Pant took over the captaincy of IPL franchise Delhi Capitals last season in the absence of an injured Shreyas Iyer.
“With some experience in a role like this in such a busy tournament as the IPL, you know, I have no doubt that in the coming years there is a good chance that Rishabh will become the international captain. No doubt about it,” Ponting said during a virtual media interaction on the eve of Sunday’s match against Mumbai Indians.
Similar to Rohit
Ponting believes that Pant and Rohit have identical traits.
“I haven’t really thought about that yet, but I think they’re actually quite similar. When Rohit took over in Mumbai, he was also quite a young man and he was just starting his international career. He would probably be about 23-24 years old, about the same age as Rishabh here. To be quite honest, they are actually quite similar people. I know they are great friends and they probably also exchange little things about leadership and captaincy,” he said.
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Ponting said Pant can match what Rohit has achieved for Mumbai Indians.
“There is every opportunity for Rishabh’s journey to be quite similar to Rohit Sharma. Taking over as a young captain of a successful franchise and growing daily… Hopefully Rishabh can have the same kind of success that Rohit had on Mumbai Indians,” he added.
Rohit became the Indian captain after the end of Virat Kohli’s era.
But at 34, Rohit is not getting any younger and Pant is seen as a potential candidate for the captaincy role of the Indian team. Earlier this year, Pant was elevated to Rohit’s deputy in the T20 series against the West Indies in the absence of an injured KL Rahul.
Ponting believes that Pant, the Indian wicketkeeper batter of all sizes, has shown maturity over the years.
“This is now my fifth season here and the evolution of Rishabh as a player and as a person has been quite dramatic. In recent years with a little more responsibility in and around the Indian team, captain of Delhi Capitals last season, of course, there has been a lot of learning for him. It will just continue to help him become a better leader and a better person every day There is no doubt that his maturity over the past 12 or 18 months has been outstanding with his game as well as with his leadership and captaincy. ”
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Hailing Pant continued, the Australian great added, “He has a very good understanding of what leadership is all about. He’s been on a successful team and has been under strong leaders in the past. So it’s up to me to see if I can find him somewhere can help, to make sure I do.”
Delhi confident against MI
Aside from its Australian recruits including David Warner, Delhi will also miss its star South African pacemaker Anrich Nortje (hip injury) for the first few games. Lungi Ngidi and Mustafizur Rahman, who are part of the ongoing ODI series between South Africa and Bangladesh, are also not available for their IPL opener.
Ricky Ponting addresses the team during a training session. – DELHI CAPITAL
Still, Ponting hopes for a good start. “A lot of teams are in the same boat as we are. We just keep going and make sure our players are well prepared and well planned. Even with a slightly weaker side we can get off to a good start,” he said.
In such a scenario, Delhi has players like Rovman Powell and Tim Seifert available as overseas players against Mumbai.
Pant has high hopes for Powell
Pant believed the fiery West Indian all-rounder could be their X-factor.
“I think he’s someone, he’s got tremendous strength, especially when he hits number 4-5 for us. We’re looking for a batter who can do the job. Hopefully, Rovman can live up to expectations,” said the skipper from Delhi. †
Pant was also delighted to have Sunrisers Hyderabad veteran opener Warner by his side. “Warner is one of the biggest buyouts for us during the auction and we got it as cheap as possible. So very happy with his admission,” Pant said.