Cricket

Ponting’s view on comparisons between Pant and Gilchrist

Ponting's view on comparisons between Pant and Gilchrist

Australian great Ricky Ponting, speaking on The ICC Review, heaped praise on Indian wonderkid Rishabh Pant while sharing his experiences coaching the keeper-beater during the IPL.

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Pant has been a sometimes divisive figure in the cricketing fraternity. Traditionalists struggle to understand his aggressive, sometimes unorthodox hitting style. Others praise his audacity. Ponting belongs to the latter category.

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Pants the character

Ponting worked closely with Pant during his tenure as coach of the Delhi Capitals, which Pant led to the playoffs in his first season in the role in 2021.

“It’s kind of hard to put your finger on him as a player or a character,” Ponting said with a laugh.

“What you see with his cricket is exactly what he is off the pitch. He is fun-loving and energetic. He’s not really a guy who takes risks off the pitch; it’s always a fun guy to be around. He’s always laughing out loud and you always know when he’s in the room. You know when he’s playing cards or when he’s about to walk into the team meeting.

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“If you think about those things, he’s exactly what he is on the pitch. You’ve heard him behind the stumps, we’ve all heard him behind the stumps, the way he talks constantly throughout the Then we saw what he does with the bat, be it T20 cricket, 50-over cricket or some of his amazing shots in Test cricket.

“It’s just him and you never want to try to curb or reduce that. He will learn and work it out on his own. I tell a lot of guys around Delhi capitals with him that you take the right with the bad, because if you try to reduce the good, then he will just become another player. He will just be the same as everyone else. And right now he is different from most, so we give him as much rope he needs and let him go play.

Ponting also praised his position as captain.

“Last year he led the team really well,” Ponting said. “We obviously had a disappointing end to our IPL campaign last year, but I think with him at the helm again this year it will make him a better leader and make us a stronger franchise. I can’t wait to come back and work with him again.

“Every time I come to practice he’s always the first one I look forward to because I can always do stuff with his stick and he’ll also pick me up for a bit of advice on different things, around of his leadership or his batting. I loved every moment of working with him.

Comparisons with Adam Gilchrist

A left-handed wicket-beater known for his aggressive play, it was inevitable that Pant would draw comparisons to the great Gilchrist.

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Having shared locker rooms with Pant and Gilchrist, Ponting is in a better position than most to draw those similarities. However, it was prudent to go this route.

“Yeah, [they are] kind of the same,” Ponting said. “I know Rishabh has really burst onto the scene, but let’s first let him play his 50-60 Test matches before we start making comparisons to one of the best hitters of all time.

“But if you think about their personalities – Rishabh is much more outgoing, much louder, much louder and ultra-competitive. Gilly was also ultra-competitive, but much more quiet and reserved, until he got his beats in his part, then he became exactly the same as Rishabh.

Ponting recalled a fun incident involving Adam Gilchrist that showed how much he resembled Pant in his approach to the stick.

“You couldn’t try to tell her [Gilchrist] how to play,” Ponting said.

“I remember having a conversation with him at the end of a test match at SCG against Pakistan. He and I were at bat so we must have been down to four or five, maybe only three overs left. in the day, of which the Danish Kaneria was to play two – and he was rolling around the wicket towards Gilly in the big marks with a long and deep medium wicket.

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“So I went up to him and said, ‘Look, let’s just go through tonight, we’ve got a great day at bat tomorrow, that wicket is going to be good. There’s a new ball around the corner, so just pass by.”

“The next ball, he ran to the wicket, he landed in the footmark, and he hit it on the head of Long-on for six, and I thought, ‘Well, that doesn’t doesn’t matter. There’s no point in me talking to him because he’s not listening. But he got through the night, I don’t know how he did, but he got through those few overs and came in and cashed in the next day.

“Rishabh will be exactly the same. If you look at Rishabh – I don’t know how many hundreds of tests he has – but he has some 90s in there. And he actually tried to increase his hundred with a six. is the good and the bad, isn’t it?

Young Indians to watch

After coaching in the IPL for three seasons now, Ponting has seen several players rise and make their mark in the T20 league. Asked about the exciting young Indian players to watch on cricket’s biggest stages, Ponting named fly-half Prithvi Shaw and fast bowler Avesh Khan (both of whom he coached at Delhi Capitals), as well as star of Chennai Super Kings, Ruturaj Gaikwad.

“I have retained one at Delhi Capitals this year, one of our retained players is Prithvi Shaw who we saw an absolute genius throughout the IPL season last year,” Ponting said.

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“Everyone knows a little bit more about him in recent years. I still think he’s learning a lot about himself as a person and learning a lot about himself as a player. I’m not sure to have seen much better to be totally honest..

“He’s someone who, when he doesn’t hit well, doesn’t want to hit a lot. When he hits well, he wants to hit all the time. And it went against what I felt and knew about myself as a player. But to get the most out of him, we’re just going to let him go and get organized and sorted.

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“The other one I found absolutely outstanding and I only saw him in T20 cricket but that was Ruturaj Gaikwad of Chennai Super Kings. He ended up being part of the IPL winning team , a young man who had a chance at the start of the season.

“Everyone knew he was a good player, more of a technically decent type of player, but at the end of the IPL he was doing amazing things. He’s someone who I’m sure will be playing all three formats for India in the coming years. On the batting side, there’s this couple over there.

“We have Avesh Khan at Delhi Capitals last year who had an amazingly good IPL season. He was included in a few Indian squads.”

The IPL effect

Ponting also credited the IPL for the recent growth of Indian cricket, citing India’s Border-Gavaskar triumph over Australia in 2020-21 as the prime example.

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“With the Test series in Australia last year, the completely exhausted Indian side who were now only at their second or almost third team were still able to draw in Sydney and win a Test match in Brisbane against Australia at full strength,” Ponting said.

“Firstly it says how good the talent is, but secondly it actually says they’re ready to step in and play and they’re not afraid of the international stage. I think that comes in much of the exposure they get from the IPL.

“They play with all the best players in the world. They probably play under all the best coaches in the world. Give them a few years in the IPL and I’m sure they’ll take that back to their home cricket and dominate there. And when they get a chance for India, you can see it – they cherish it, they relish the opportunity and they fear no one.”