Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 17
Jacques Kallis has his man in the India World Cup squad, Ricky Ponting does not.
Both Kallis and Ponting, legendary players from South Africa and Australia, were deeply interested in India’s plans for the World Cup. Both had an axe to grind — Kolkata Knight Riders coach Kallis wanted his IPL team’s captain, Dinesh Karthik, in the India squad. Karthik was competing with the young Rishabh Pant, who happens to be a ward of Ponting in his role as Delhi Capitals head coach.
Ponting today said he’s surprised that Pant was not in India’s squad of 15 for the World Cup. Chief selector MSK Prasad had said that Pant’s suspect ability as a wicketkeeper was one reason he was not in the team. Apart from his howlers behind the wicket, Pant has also been criticised for regularly throwing away his wicket.
“I thought he will be in and in the playing XI, to be honest,” Ponting said. “I think someone like him batting at No. 4 or 5 would be just the sort of player who could have that X factor about him and could have been difference between India and other teams at the World Cup.”
“He is a very smart player. He sums up conditions very well. He sums up situations in games very well as far as I am concerned,” Ponting said. “They have obviously got their reason for not having him in the World Cup squad, but I can’t really comment on what went there. I know he is very talented and very determined player.”
Ponting said Pant should play in several World Cup tournaments in the future. “I mean there is no doubt that he is disappointed,” Ponting said. “But he has to remember and we all have to remember that he is still very young and he has the opportunity to play in potentially in another three or four World Cups through the course of his career.”
Kallis’s No. 4
Kallis had said before the team’s selection that India would be “silly” to not pick up Karthik in the squad. “He should be looked at as the No. 4 option,” he had said. “2019 will be the most open World Cup of all, and India certainly has the team to win it and are the favourites going into the tournament. DK is one of the best finishers I have ever seen. He has been unbelievable for KKR. To have a guy there who is going to be calm under pressure...”
Another foreign coach, Eric Simons of Chennai Super Kings, was left saddened due to one key omission from India’s squad. CSK bowling coach Simons was sad because CSK player Ambati Rayudu didn’t make the India squad. “We all feel sad for Rayudu. I haven’t had a chat with him personally yet (after team selection). Who would not love to play for India and in the World Cup?” Simons said. “We all feel for him but I am confident that he will continue to give off his best.”