Dubai: Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting has said his young skipper Rishabh Pant’s level of maturity ‘has gone through the roof’. Ponting also stated that in the last couple of seasons Pant has evolved from a swashbuckling keeper-batsman to a leader of the pack. The 23-year-old Pant was given the responsibility to lead Delhi Capitals in the first phase of IPL-2021. This move came after regular captain Shreyas Iyer was ruled out due to a shoulder injury.
“Rishabh’s level of maturity in the last two seasons has gone through the roof,” Ricky Ponting said Tuesday. “When I first came in, he just burst on to the scene. I had said we are going to see the unearthing of someone who is going to play for India for a long time. I could see that coming. I could see how much he wanted to be in every Indian team. It will take a very good player to knock him off that Indian team,” Ponting said.
“He has done a terrific job so far (leading DC in IPL). We are all striving for something special. This year we want to go one step further and Rishabh is going to play an intergral part in that,” Ponting added.
Ponting had backed Pant as the team’s skipper in the absence of Iyer. He had said that the youngster would enjoy the extra responsibility. And he did as DC topped the standings with six wins from eight matches before Covid-19 cases in the IPL’s bio-bubble led to a suspension of the event.
Eager to in their first silverware, Pant said the team need to give just 10-15 per cent more than last season.
“We are better than last time this year. We have been focussing on the process for two-three years. We don’t have to do too many things differently from last year. We can do the same things and give 10-15 per cent extra,” Pant said on the eve of their opening game against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
DC have people like Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmyer in the team, besides Pant. So Ponting has a lot of confidence in his middle-order.
“Stoinis has had actually really big impact on us. He has the talent to be a great all-rounder in world cricket, especially in white-ball. We have got a lot of finishing power there with Hetmyer, Stoinis and Pant. It makes our batting lineup really strong and really deep,” Ponting pointed out.
The Australian is also delighted to have Iyer back in the squad, lending additional firepower to the batting lineup. “I am delighted to have him back in the team. He has been an exceptional player for Delhi, a world-class act. It makes our team look a little more complete,” Ponting asserted.
DC have plenty of senior players in their ranks including Steve Smith, Ajinkya Rahane and Ravichandran Ashwin. Some of them often miss out on game time, but the head coach said managing them has never been an issue as he treats everyone equally.
“I manage everyone the same way. Everyone is on the same page in our team. We treat each other equally, that’s certainly the way we try to go about. We have a good mix of youth and experience. We also do rely on our senior players as, at the end of the day, Rishabh is not always going to be right. So we bring everybody along the journey,” Ponting said.