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IPL 2024: ‘I’d have Pant in Indian team every day of the week,’ says Ponting on T20 World Cup selection

In Delhi Capitals (DC) head coach Ricky Ponting’s Indian team for the upcoming T20 World Cup, Rishabh Pant will feature “every day of the week”.

Ponting was not sure whether Pant would be able to play again after the horrific car accident in December 2022. But the way he has been making an impact since his return on the back of his remarkable resilience, the DC head coach is left with no doubt about who should board the plane to New York at the end of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“Do I believe whether Rishabh should be there in the World Cup squad? Absolutely I do. He deserves to be in that T20 squad by the end of the IPL,” Ponting told PTI in an exclusive interview.

“I think we have seen Rishabh play the way we have seen him play in last five or six years in IPL, and now back playing for India,” added the Australian batting great.

While he acknowledged that there were lots of options for Indian selectors in choosing a keeper-batter, Pant remained the No.1 choice for him.

“One thing we certainly know is that there is a lot of depth around Indian cricket. With keeper-batters, I feel some guys are in really good form at the moment. (Ishan) Kishan, (Sanju) Samson and KL Rahul are all playing well.

“There are a lot of options but if I was picking a team, I would have Rishabh Pant in it every day of the week,” the Punter made his call.

Since his entry as DC coach, Ponting has shared a special bond with Pant and he is a touch emotional seeing him in full flow once again.

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“Rishabh’s comeback to international cricket is nothing short of remarkable. I spent a lot of time with him during the last IPL and a lot of us were actually sceptical about whether he will actually play the game again, such a horrific accident and I had spoken to him about it, I wasn’t sure whether he will play again,” Ponting said.

But like with all champions, Pant refused to throw in the towel.

“There was never any doubt in his mind that he will be back playing again. As each game goes by, we are starting to see a better and better version of Rishabh Pant, his batting has had more impact in the last couple of games compared to the start of the tournament, and he is starting to move well behind the stumps,” the coach added.

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