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Pant will have ‘huge impact’ on T20 World Cup, says Ponting after his IPL success

Dubai, May 28: Rishabh Pant’s recent success in Indian Premier League 2024 has made former Australia skipper and Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting hope that the wicketkeeper-batter will make a “huge impact” in next month’s T20 World Cup. Pant made his comeback to competitive cricket after a gap of 15 months in the recently concluded IPL. Despite doubts over his fitness after recovering from multiple injuries sustained in a horrific car crash, Pant not only captained Delhi Capitals in the season but also donned the wicketkeeping gloves successfully.

With Pant being named in India’s squad for the T20 World Cup to be held in the USA and West Indies, Ponting said his inclusion was evident following his “remarkable comeback”. The veteran feels Pant will make a significant impact in the T20 showpiece. “I was asked when I was over there what I thought about him. He’d been picked in the Indian squad, and I basically said ‘he’d be one of the first players picked’, and sure enough he was. So, great to see him back out there playing again. I’ve enjoyed every moment of working with him. Obviously, he’s been the captain of the Delhi Capitals, and I’ve been the coach there,” Ponting told The ICC Review.

“But it’s been a remarkable comeback, and hopefully he has a huge impact on this World Cup,” he added. Pant, who missed the last edition of the tournament due to injuries, scored 446 runs — the highest for the franchise in the edition. He also scored three half-centuries and played with an impressive strike rate of 155.40. Talking about Pant’s comeback, Ponting said it was a ‘spectacular’ show from the 26-year-old and credited the franchise for doing a great job. “It’s been nothing short of spectacular, to be honest. I spent a few months with him in the middle of the IPL last year, which was only sort of three or four months after his accident. And I had grave fears then that he would never play the game again. What he’d been through psychologically, but what he’d been through physically. At that stage, he still couldn’t walk,” he said.

“He was on crutches. And I remember saying to him, ‘What do you think about next season’? He just looked at me and said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll be right’. And he’s looked after himself incredibly well. The Delhi Capitals franchise has done a great job looking after him. Patrick Farhart has been his physio. He’s done a great job with him as well,” the three-time ODI World Cup winner added. Apart from batting, Pant was phenomenal with his glove work behind the stumps, shutting the doubts over his agility following a long injury layoff. Ponting said everyone was skeptical about his keeping in the tournament for 14 matches in a row but Pant proved them wrong.

“No one had real concerns about his batting, because of how good he is and how dynamic he is with the bat,” Ponting said. “But with his wicket-keeping and having to squat every ball for 14 games in a row, there were certainly some concerns there,” he added. Pant was among the players who landed in New York on Monday ahead of their opening T20 World Cup match against Ireland on June 5 (India time). India are also scheduled to take on Bangladesh in the only warm-up game on June 1.

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