Coach Ricky Ponting said Rishabh Pant remained his choice as Delhi Capitals skipper, despite mistakes from the wicketkeeper-batsman that played a part in the team’s defeat against Mumbai Indians leading to missing out on a place in the Indian Premier League playoffs.
Pant dropped a catch and failed to review a caught-behind chance off Mumbai Indians batsman Tim David off his first ball, who then went on smash a match-winning 11-ball 34 on Saturday.
Mumbai, the five-time winners who ended bottom of the 10-team table, chased down their victory target of 160 to allow Royal Challengers Bangalore sneak in to the final four of the Twenty20 tournament.
“Absolutely no doubt in my mind that Rishabh, even the last season, was the right choice for the captaincy,” Ponting told reporters after his team’s five-wicket defeat.
“He is still a very young man. He is still learning about the captaincy side of things. He has certainly got my full backing and looking forward to getting back working with him next year.”
The left-handed Pant made 39 in Delhi’s 159-7 but dropped a high catch off South African teenager Dewald Brevis who made a crucial 37 off 33 balls in Mumbai’s successful chase.
The 24-year-old then failed to call for a review when David appeared to have edged his first ball with technology suggesting the batsman had nicked it to Pant.
“It’s always hard to put your finger on single aspect of the game,” Ponting said. “You can rewind the clock to the start of the game as well when our top-order batting was so poor.
“Obviously Tim David was out first ball, but there are so many aspects that we will be disappointed (with), but the important thing is that the players need to learn from games like this.”
Mumbai skipper and all-format India captain Rohit Sharma also threw his weight behind Pant, who is being groomed as a future leader in the national team.
“He is a quality captain, we have seen it in the past season how he leads his team. Sometimes things don’t go your way, I have gone through such situations, such things happen on the ground,” Rohit said.
“He has a great mind, he reads the game well from behind, and such fumbles can happen and it is important to not doubt yourself. He will come back strong.”
Delhi, who faltered in the playoffs last year and have never been IPL champions, finished in fifth place with seven wins and seven losses.