Ricky Ponting found Rishabh Pant’s exclusion from the Playing XI for 1st Test match surprising enough. Ricky Ponting served as the coach of IPL franchise Delhi Capitals where Rishabh Pant is a part of the squad.
The Australian ex-skipper has seen the 23-year-old for the previous two years at Delhi Capitals and said he was shocked at his omission in the first ongoing day-night Test match.
Ricky Ponting: Rishabh Pant Is A Terrific Young Player, Has An X-Factor With Bat, So It Was Surprising To Not See Him Picked
Virat Kohli revealed the Playing XI, which finally lifted the speculations over India’s opening combination on the eve of the first Test between India and Australia in Adelaide.
In the presence of four specialized openers in the team consisting of likes of KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw, the openers selected were Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal, with the 20-year-old Prithvi Shaw’s inclusion being one of the most discussed topics as he not showed form and lacked consistency both in IPL 2020 and the two practice games.
The other big revelation was India’s wicketkeeper. Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant were vying for a sport and it was believed that India would give Rishabh Pant a go-ahead, considering his 73-ball century against Australia A in the pink-ball warm-up game in Sydney. However, India opted to go with comparatively better technically correct gloveman Wriddhiman Saha, which surprised many including former Australia captain Ricky Ponting.
“I’m surprised [that Rishabh Pant wasn’t picked]. I think he’s a terrific young player, X-factor about him with the bat. Probably, not as good a keeper as [Wriddhiman] Saha and that’s probably the reason they’ve left him out,” Ponting said while commentating on Channel 7.
Rishabh Pant had a moderate IPL 2020 where he struck his only fifty in the final where his team Delhi Capitals lost to finish runners-up. He scored 343 runs averaging 31.18 at a strike rate of only 113.95 which was low according to his standards. He had strike rates of above 130 every season and in the last 3 years, his strike rate was above 160.
Rishabh Pant had a successful Australian tour in 2018-19 when the team was victorious by amassing 350 runs averaging 58.33 in 4 games.
Ricky Ponting: Australians Will Target Prithvi Shaw’s Tendency To Leave Gap Between Bat And Pad
Ricky Ponting, who has also worked with Prithvi Shaw at Delhi Capitals, had pointed out that the tendency to leave a gap between bat and pad is probably the only chink in his armour and Australia would be looking to exploit it.
“If he does have a chink in his armour it’s the ball which does come back into him,” Ricky Ponting said after Shaw defended Starc’s first ball, which was pitched on a good length and went on with the angle.
“He’s very comfortable playing the ball away from his body. He does get his head in line with the ball but he doesn’t commit his front foot to the line of the ball and quite often leaves a big gap between bat and pad and that’s where the Aussies will target,” Rickt Ponting added as Starc began his run up to bowl the ball that would eventually get him Shaw’s wicket.
Ricky Ponting was also spot on with his prediction for the young Prithvi Shaw, who endured a second-ball duck in the series opener in Adelaide. Prithvi Shaw scored only 228 runs in 13 games averaging a pathetic 17.53 in IPL 2020.
Prithvi Shaw was clean bowled while trying to defend a delivery from pacer Mitchell Starc, which penetrated through the gap between his bat and pads. He was dismissed in 2nd ball of the innings but India scored 244 whereas Australians are reeling at 79/5 in the 2nd day of the 1st Test.