World Cup 2019: Ponting, Ganguly back Pant to be India's No. 4

Rishabh Pant has the x-factor and can win the World Cup for India, contends Ricky Ponting, the Delhi Capitals head coach.

The 21-year-old Rishabh Pant has played nine Tests, five ODIs, and 15 T20Is for India.   -  K. V. S. Giri

Seldom has the batting-order of any World Cup-bound Indian team discussed with such interest, particularly the No. 4 spot in the current line-up.

But Sourav Ganguly views it differently and sounds sure of his reading.

“When I look at it, I think Virat Kohli already knows his No. 4 batsman for the World Cup. However, the form of batsmen in the IPL could clinch the No. 4 spot for them.

“There are lots of choices for the No. 4 position. I have been calling for (Cheteshwar) Pujara because he is in very good form and batting well. I have seen Rahul Dravid playing successfully in the ODI format at No. 4 and 5. Dravid was given a role. If you have an option of a batsman in form and scoring runs, then Pujara can be a good option. Along with him, Rishabh Pant is also a good option for the position as well as Ambati Rayudu,”\

For many, with Pant still some distance from being a certainty in the Indian squad for the World Cup, Rayudu seems the more likely choice of Kohli and the selectors headed by M. S. K. Prasad.

But Delhi Capitals' advisor Ganguly, in particular, and coach Ricky Ponting backed Pant ahead of other options, at the media interaction here on Tuesday.

“For me, Rishabh is the future,” asserted Ganguly. “He is a hard worker and will be a huge asset for the country in the years to come.

“Anybody who wants to succeed in shorter formats of the game, he has to go up the order. We have seen the best in the world do that. If you send Rishabh at No. 4, he will score runs because he is so talented, he has got so much time to play.

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Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly at a Delhi Capitals training session. Photo: PTI


“In his short career he has been remarkable for India and once he starts getting opportunity consistently, he will be a top player.

“The problem with him in shorter formats is that he doesn’t get regular cricket because you have a champion in M. S. Dhoni who actually plays most of the shorter formats, so Rishabh is coming in and going out all the time and that’s never good for anybody, however quality a player you are,”

Ponting reinforced Ganguly’s views by saying, “Rishabh is the sort of guy who has the X-factor about him that can win a World Cup for you. We need those guys to focus on winning games for Delhi (Capitals) and not what’s going to happen for the World Cup. If they score runs and win games for Delhi Capitals they will be rewarded with selection. I
am sure."

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