Despite their perceived rivalry as captains of two successful teams, Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting said he is “very, very open” to Sourav Ganguly’s inputs through the course of the season, after the latter was appointed as the advisor for the Indian Premier League franchise.
Delhi Capitals have been the in the spotlight over the past few days as we head nearer to the 12th edition of the IPL, starting on March 23.
The franchise, having never won the mega T20 tournament, seems to be leaving no stone unturned to turn its fortunes around. With former Australian captain Ricky Ponting continuing as head coach, the Capitals brought on Ganguly as an advisor for the Shreyas Iyer-led team.
Now, anyone who remotely followed international cricket through the early 2000s knows that Ponting and Ganguly weren’t, to put it mildly, best friends on the field.
While the Aussie dominated world cricket by leading from the front, Ganguly, too, changed the mindset of Indian players with his never-back-down attitude. And this, of course, led to several tense moments between the duo out on the field.
With Delhi Capitals bringing them together for IPL 2019, viewers will be keen to see the camaraderie, or the lack of it, between these two legends of the game.
“Sourav and I have always got along just fine. We have great respect for one another,” Ponting was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
“We’ve actually interacted a lot since we’ve been retired. We’ve been on cricket committees together and spent a bit of time talking. He will be an advisor. He might not have anything to do with us on game day but he will be around the team, around meetings. I’m very, very open to that.”
‘Pant is India’s best choice for second ‘keeper’
Speaking about Delhi Capitals’ batting mainstay Rishabh Pant, Ponting said that the youngster remains the best second wicketkeeper’s choice for the Indian team at the upcoming ICC World Cup in England.
Pant failed to get going in the recently-concluded ODI series loss to Australia, and there were questions over the 21-year-old’s place in the Indian team for the World Cup. In Mohali, the crowd chanted Dhoni’s name when the youngster missed a crucial stumping chance.
The former Mumbai Indians coach, however, reckons the left-handed batsman is lucky to have the bad patch of form behind him.
“I think it’s actually a big job for me and the coaches when he comes in, to make him forget what’s happened in the last few days [in Mohali]. He’s probably lucky it happened in the last couple of games,” said Ponting.
“It would have been hard to play all five games under that kind of pressure. Now he’s back in a competition where he has dominated in the past. If he can win a couple of games for us then everything will be forgotten. I can’t see anyone better than him as a second wicketkeeper in that Indian World Cup squad.”
Similarities with Kohli
The 44-year-old, who has 27,483 international runs to his credit, also drew parallels between himself and Indian captain Virat Kohli, and understandably so.
Ponting is a right-handed batsman like Kohli, led his country to many famous victories, had an attacking style of play, and an aggressive personality to go with it.
“I can relate to Virat because when I watch him play, I think a lot of his attitude is similar to mine,” said the man nicknamed Punter.
“On the field, he is aggressive, wears his heart on his sleeve, (though) his body language can get out of control sometimes. That is like me… I was the same. When you are out there, competing, in the heat of battle, things happen.
“Yeah, I can see a bit of myself in Virat, especially on the field, not so much on the batting side of things. We are probably naturally aggressive people and that comes across in the way we bat.”