Ricky Ponting is of the opinion that the level of Rishabh Pant’s maturity has gone through the roof over the last couple of seasons. Further appreciating Pant as a player, Ponting has stated that it is going to take a very good player to knock him out of the Indian national cricket team.
Rishabh Pant is one of the sensations in Indian cricket and thanks to some of his explosive knocks in recent years, he has become one of the mainstays in the Indian cricket team. His exploits in the Test series against Australia cemented his place in Test cricket. In IPL 2021, Pant has scored 213 runs from eight innings with an average of 35.50 and at an impressive strike rate of 131.48. Speaking on the role of Rishabh Pant as a player and how he has developed his game Ricky Ponting admitted that the player has become more mature and also remarked that his last 18 months at the international stage have been sensational.
"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 and I made a pretty big call in the Australian summer last year when Rishabh finally made his way back into the Test team. 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 remarked on Pant in a press interaction.
“And 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,” he further added.
Under his captaincy, Delhi Capitals are strong contenders to qualify for playoffs and also are in decent form. Praising his leadership, Ponting said that Pant has done a terrific job as a skipper.
"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," he stated.
Shreyas Iyer missed out the first half of the season as he suffered a shoulder injury prior to the tournament. Iyer has played 79 IPL matches for Delhi and scored 2200 runs with 16 fifties. Ponting expressed his joy on Iyer’s arrival in the team and said that he is absolutely delighted to have Iyer back into the line-up
“I am absolutely delighted to have Shreyas back into our line-up. It was devastating for him and the team when he hurt his shoulder just before the start of the IPL earlier in the year. He is a world-class player, and he has been an exceptional player for Delhi Capitals for a long time now. Him slotting back into our line-up, I think it makes the make-up of our team look a little bit more complete,” Ponting said.
"The first part of the tournament, as well as we played - we won six of our eight games - our overall balance didn't quite feel like it was just right. But Shreyas coming back in now, it does give us the opportunity to play the two overseas fast bowlers, which we had [done] successfully in the past.”
Marcus Stoinis is a key player for Delhi Capitals in their team composition. Stoinis gives batting depth to the team and also gives his captain a couple of overs in bowling. The Aussie all rounder has played a major role in Delhi’s change of fortunes . Commenting on the role of Stoinis in the team, Ponting stated that Stoinis has the talent and capabilities to become one of the better all-rounders in white-ball cricket.
"He is very highly regarded here at Delhi Capitals, he's actually had a lot of big impact on a lot of the games he has played for us in the last season and a half, and I think he has the talent and the capabilities to be one of the better allrounders in world cricket, certainly in the white-ball format. We use him in any number of different roles. We saw in the IPL final that we played last year, he opened the batting in that one [but scored the first-ball duck], we know that he can open the batting, we know that he can bat at five or six, and finish off games, and we know that he can chip in with the ball and take some handy wickets. And he is very good in the field” he concluded.