Ricky Ponting has stated that he was surprised to see that Rishabh Pant was not named in India’s 15 man World Cup squad. Pant was the latest player to be tried out by the team management for the number four slot, as he was drafted in the place of MS Dhoni in the last two ODIs against Australia.
Rishabh Pant has been popularly touted as the future of Indian cricket for some while now. He made his T20I debut for India against England, way back in 2017, but had clearly underperformed having scored 233 runs at a strike rate of about 120 in 15 matches. But surprisingly, he has done phenomenally well in Tests since his debut in testing English conditions, in August last year.
He scored a quickfire 114 in the fifth test against England to almost single-handedly won India a match following which he has narrowly missed out on two hundreds in two consecutive matches against West Indies. In India’s last test against Australia in Sydney, he scored an unbeaten 159.
In ODIs though, it has been a different story altogether as he got a chance to bat only in two innings against West Indies in his debut series, and was dropped thereafter. He was once again slotted in the side for the final two ODIs against Australia, which was India’s final assignment before the World Cup in England and Wales, but Pant failed to impress there. Consequently, he wasn't included in the 15 man squad.
Ricky Ponting, the head coach of Delhi Capitals, has been the youngster monitoring closely has stated that he was taken aback by the selectors’ decision to omit Rishabh Pant from the squad for the quadrennial event, and even went to state that he expects Pant to feature in at least three World Cups for India.
"I was surprised when he was left out of the squad. I thought he'll be in and I thought he'll actually play in the starting eleven. I thought that someone like him batting at No. 4 or 5 in their side would have just been that sort of player who could have had that X-factor about him that could have been the difference between India and some other teams in the World Cup. One thing that we know about Indian cricket is that there is a lot of depth around, particularly around the batting side. Unfortunately this time Rishabh is the one that has missed out but as I said, I think knowing what he's like and the talent he's got I'll be surprised if he doesn't play at least three World Cups before his career is over,” said Ponting, on Wednesday, reported Cricbuzz.
The former cricketer has also revealed claimed that Pant took the snub pretty and has suggested that the 21-year-old still has a long career ahead of him, having the potential to play in multiple World Cups.
"I had a quick chat to him on Monday night, he seems to have taken it pretty well. There's no doubt that he's disappointed, I'm sure he would have loved to have been in that squad, as a lot of other players would have as well. But the thing that he has to remember, and we all have to remember, he's still very, very young. He's got an opportunity to play potentially in another three or four World Cups during the course of his career," asserted Ponting.
The Haridwar-born player had a splendid season in the Indian Premier League last year when he smashed 684 runs at a splendid strike rate of almost 175 and was even awarded the emerging player of the season. This season, however, Pant has been average Barring two innings against Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, garnering 245 runs at an average and strike rate of 35 and 161 respectively. His numbers in this season are decent, but Ponting vows that he would come back stronger after he failed to find a seat on the flight to England.
"I don't think he's impatient, he's a very smart player. He sums up conditions very well, he sums up situations in games very well as far as I'm concerned. But then they've got their reasons for not having him in the World Cup squad. I know what I know of him, he's a very talented and very determined player and I actually think that him missing out, you might see a different player in the back half of this IPL. His determination while shine through and I'm sure he'll score heavily in the back half of this tournament,” he signed off.
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