Rishabh Pant has attracted the attention of two legends at once — Ricky Ponting calling him a cricketer “on a different planet” and Sourav Ganguly summing up his ultra-aggressive batting with a “wow”. Days after being left out of India’s World Cup squad at the expense of Dinesh Karthik, Pant made a statement by guiding Delhi Capitals to a win over Rajasthan Royals with a 36-ball 78 Monday night.
Mesmerised by the young keeper-batsman’s range of strokes, former India captain and Delhi Capitals advisor Ganguly ran into the field and lifted Pant. Then, Ganguly tweeted, “Rishabh pant @RishabPant777@ParthJindal11 u deserve this .. u r wow.”
Pant was in rampaging form as he smashed six boundaries and four sixes to help his team chase down a target of 192 with four balls to spare, the win has pushed DC to the top of the IPL standings.
Delhi Capitals head coach and former Australia captain Ponting was unshakeable in his belief that India erred in not picking him for the World Cup.
“I know how disappointed he was to miss out on the World Cup. In my opinion as well, I think India made the wrong choice there. I think he would have been absolutely devastating in English conditions through those middle over against spinners,” Ponting said while speaking to the official broadcasters.
The two-time World Cup winning captain added, “Would have loved to see what he could have done in the World Cup. As I said at the time he was left out, he’s got the potential to play three or four more World Cups if he keeps himself fit and healthy.”
After the dismissal of senior opener Shikhar Dhawan and skipper Shreyas Iyer, Pant played one of his most responsible innings in the ongoing IPL.
Ponting said, “Someone as explosive as Rishabh likes a bit more pace on the ball. And we saw that tonight. Once he gets those sort of wickets he’s lethal. He got a wicket like that in Mumbai and he hit 70-odd off 20-odd balls.
“Rishabh himself, he is on a different planet. He is an ultra-talented guy. He is a real competitor and a winner. He loves these conditions. Some really good signs there going forward in the tournament.”
Team mentor Ganguly also lavished rich praise on Pant, saying talented players like him should not be asked to change their game.
“Players like Rishabh Pant are genuine match winners. You don’t want to tell them to change much. They might fail in four or five matches but on their day they can single-handedly win you matches, that is why they are important,” Ganguly said during a post-match chat.
(With PTI Inputs)