Delhi Capitals manager Ricky Ponting has no doubt that Rishabh Pant can achieve the same success as Rohit Sharma with the Mumbai Indians and the young wicketkeeper will be a prosperous Indian captain if he is put in charge in the future.
Pant took over as Delhi captain in the absence of the injured Shreyas Iyer last season, with the Ponting-led management team showing confidence in the player.
“With some experience in a role like this in a tournament as high pressure as the IPL, I have no doubt that Risabh has every chance of becoming an international captain in the years to come. There’s no doubt about it,” Ponting said during a virtual media interaction on the eve of their IPL-15 opener against Mumbai Indians.
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Ponting, who oversaw Rohit Sharma’s rise to become the most successful IPL skipper for the five-time record champions Mumbai Indians, believes the Pant and Rohit duo have identical qualities.
“I haven’t really thought about that. But I think they’re actually pretty similar. When Rohit took over in Mumbai, he was still quite a young man and he was just beginning his international career. He would probably be around 23-24 years old, around the same age as Rishabh over here.
“To be perfectly honest, they’re actually quite similar people. I know they’re great buddies and they probably exchange little things about leadership and captaincy along the way, too,” he said.
Ponting said Pant could emulate what Rohit accomplished for the Mumbai Indians.
“There is every opportunity for Rishabh’s journey to be quite similar to Rohit Sharma’s. Taking over as a young captain of a successful franchise and growing every day… Hopefully Rishabh can have the same success that Rohit had with the Mumbai Indians,” he added.
Ponting believes Pant, who is Team India’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats, has shown maturity over the years.
“This is my fifth season in the middle of nowhere and the development of Rishabh as a player and as a person has been quite dramatic.
“Over the past few years with a little more responsibility in and around the Indian team, obviously captaining the Delhi Capitals last season, there have been a lot of learning experiences for him.
“It will just help him become a better leader and a better person every day. There is no doubt that his maturity over the last 12 or 18 months has been outstanding with his game but also with his leadership and captaincy.”
The Aussie legend went on to praise Pant, adding: “He has a very good grasp of what leadership is all about. He was part of a successful team and has had strong leaders in the past.
“So it’s up to me to see if I can help him out in any way to make sure I’m doing that on the side.”
Nevertheless, Ponting is hoping for a good start.
“Many teams are in a similar boat as we are. We’re just pushing forward and making sure our players are well prepared and well planned. We can get off to a good start even with a slightly weakening team,” he said.
In such a scenario, Delhi players like Rovman Powell and Tim Seifert are available as foreign players against Mumbai.
“I think he’s someone, he has immense power, especially when he’s batting 4-5 for us. We were looking for a batsman who could get the job done in order. Hopefully Rovman can live up to expectations,” said the Delhi skipper.
Pant was also thrilled to have veteran Sunrisers Hyderabad opener Warner at his side.
“Warner is one of the biggest buyouts for us during the auction and we got him as cheaply as we could. I’m very happy with his recording,” Pant said.