Ricky Ponting reflects on his chat with Rishab Pant: Former Australian cricketer Ricky Ponting has opened up about his fondness for Indian young international Rishabh Pant after his accident and said that the hugely popular player could play a part with him in the Delhi Capitals dugout during the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Australian legend former cricketer Ponting, speaking on The ICC Review, revealed that he has been in contact with Rishab Pant during the 25-year-old’s recovery.
“I absolutely love the bloke, I told him that on the phone the last couple of days,” Ponting told The ICC Review. “It was a horrifying time, a really scary time for everybody, let alone him. Anyone that knows him loves him – he’s a really infectious young guy that has the world at his feet still.
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“So we will keep our fingers crossed and hope that he can get back to playing sooner rather than later.”
Rishabh suffered severe head injuries in his car on his way home from the accident on 30 December, though he is making good progress with his recovery and is expected to eventually return to the field. The time frame for Pant’s return to cricket is unclear, with his participation in this season’s IPL still considered doubtful.
Ricky Ponting expressed his hope for Rishabh Pant’s speedy return to cricket!
However, there is little chance of Pant returning for the IPL 2023 season. With Delhi Capitals skipper Pant set to play Ponting’s side in 2023, the head coach is already mulling over alternative ways to make up for the loss of his star player.
“You can’t replace those guys, simple as that,” Ponting said.
“They don’t grow on trees, players like that. We’ve got to look at – and we already are – a replacement to come into the squad, a wicketkeeper-batsman.”
However, Ponting’s love and respect for his captain means that a big role at the Capitals will still be on offer if Pant is well enough, with the Australian saying “I want him sitting beside me in the dugout every day of the week”.
“If he’s actually not physically fit enough to play, we’d still love to have him around,” Ponting explained. “He’s the sort of cultural leader around the group, being the captain, and that attitude and infectious smile and laugh he has is what we all love so much about him.
“If he’s actually able to travel and be around the team, then I want him sitting beside me in the dugout every day of the week.
“I’ll certainly be making sure, come the middle of March when we get together in Delhi and start our camps and stuff, if he’s able to be there, then I want him around the whole time.”
Rishabh Pant named as India’s ‘pocket-sized dynamite’
India are set to play Ponting’s home country in the much-anticipated upcoming four-Test Border-Gavaskar Trophy series, with the two teams currently set to meet again in the ICC World Test Championship final in June.
And Ponting believes that Pant’s Test batting brilliance will be a huge loss not only for India but also for fans of the game who were hoping to repeat their heroics in Australia two years ago.
“I think he’s ranked in the top six-seven Test batsmen in the world, isn’t he?” Ponting asked (Pant is currently seventh in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s Test Batting Rankings, India’s highest-ranked batter).
“When he first started, we probably all thought he was going to be a better T20 and one-day batsman than a Test batsman, but it’s actually worked the other way. His Test cricket has been remarkable.
“Even the series coming up against Australia, the four-Test series there, we know how he played against Australia in Australia last time. He’d have been looking forward to that series, and the rest of the world would have been looking forward to watching him play.”