Former Australian captain and Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting has backed two of the promising batsmen who may go on to serve India for a long time.
Ponting, who has seen Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant from close in the Delhi Capitals camp, rates them highly.
About Shaw’s progress in T20, Ponting said, “I have seen him develop as a player. We took a bit of a punt on him in last year's auction as a young guy that hadn't played any T20 cricket.
From the moment I saw him at trials, you just saw he was ready to play. He has shown that in the games that he played last year. He has shown glimpses of his brilliance so far in this tournament.”
Ponting said he was disappointed when Shaw got out on 99 against Kolkata Knight Riders in Delhi.
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“I said to him after the KKR game that I was heartbroken he did not get a hundred as he deserved to get a hundred on that occasion. So far in the tournament, he has got us some good starts.
“I think he was probably, single-handedly, the reason that we won the game in Bangalore. The Powerplay start that we got really put that game away for us early. Look, he's developing every day and is learning more and more about T20 cricket. If he keeps improving then I am sure he will be one of the leading run scorers come end of this tournament.”
Asked how an aggressive batsman like Pant is succeeding more in Tests than in shorter formats, Ponting said, “The thing you have to think about Rishabh in white ball cricket is he is such a competitor that sometimes that just gets to a little bit better of him. He wants to get things done quickly in the white ball game. In Test matches, he doesn't quite do it so much.
“We know he can score quickly, but there's not as much pressure in Test matches, isn't it?”
Ponting said he was not in favour of altering Pant’s natural game. “I am not going to curb the way he plays. I am not going to tell him to slow down and settle down because I know if he plays his best he wins games for us.
“I want him to go out there with pure freedom and with no other thought in the back of his head other than trying to hit the ball for six. We saw in Mumbai in the first game that when it comes off you know we are going to win.
“We had 213 in that first game and he faced 28 balls in the innings and made 77 or 78. So you don't want to take that away from him. He has to understand that we need him batting in the last four overs of every game we play. He has won one game for us already.
We are less than halfway through the tournament and I am sure he will win another three-four for us,” said Ponting.