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Ganguly, Ponting back Rishabh Pant’s inclusion in India’s T20 World Cup squad
Ganguly, Ponting back Rishabh Pant’s inclusion in India’s T20 World Cup squad

New Delhi, April 23 : Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Ponting, the director of cricket and head coach at Delhi Capitals, have backed wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant to be included in India’s 15-member squad for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, which is expected to be announced by the end of this month.

Since his return to competitive cricket following a layoff of 14 months and 28 days due to injuries suffered in a life-threatening car accident in December 2022, Pant has amassed 254 runs in eight innings at a strike rate of 150.29, including two half-centuries.

"Yes, I think so. I want every young player to play, but unfortunately, we can pick only 15. The better and equipped ones play, which is a part of the sport. Pant is definitely in that bracket, and I am sure he would go to the West Indies (as part of the T20 World Cup squad). He should bat in the middle order," said Ganguly in a select media interaction organised by the franchise on Monday.

He has been mainly a middle-order batter and donned keeping gloves in every match, where he’s shown to be comfortable in being behind the stumps. Pant is in competition with Sanju Samson, K.L. Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Dinesh Karthik and Jitesh Sharma for the wicketkeeper-batter slot in India’s squad for the mega event.

"It’s very difficult to say in T20 cricket as lots of things happen, like matchups or right-left combinations, as well as depending on who bowls and what the situation is. It won’t be possible to say that he should bat at either number three, five or seven. It works in Tests, to a certain extent in ODIs, but T20 is very quick and doesn’t have much time. It depends on captain and situation though," stated Ganguly on what would be Pant’s ideal batting position in the India playing eleven.

On the other hand, Ponting sounded optimistic about his opinion over Pant’s progression from his return game at Mullanpur last month to playing Delhi’s first match at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in the previous week. "He has gotten better and better every game. He's starting to get a bit more trust and belief in his body as well.”

“I think early on he had been a little bit apprehensive as to what he could do, especially with the wicketkeeping side of it. With his batting, coming into the tournament, he had pretty good trust in his legs and abilities. His keeping skills have become really good with every match. I think his batting is getting better and better by the game.”

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