Ricky Ponting praised the Indian team for sending Rishabh Pant out to bat early on the fifth day of the third Test and branded the move a 'masterstroke'. The former Australian skipper was all praise for the southpaw and indicated Pant could play as a pure batsman in the Indian Test team.
Rishabh Pant changed the game's complexion after the early dismissal of Ajinkya Rahane on the final day at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Pant played a counter-attacking knock of 97 as he went hammer and tongs against the Australian bowlers. Ricky Ponting believes the 23-year-old can become a long-term option for India and said on the Unplayable Podcast:
"Very good proactive captaincy or coaching for sending Rishabh up. For India to stay in with a chance to win, they needed to do that. He had a little bit of luck with Paine putting him down couple of times. It's not all crash and bang with him, there is a lot of skill involved, and he is proper test match batsman to the point today where lot of the commentators were saying can he play as a batsman in the middle order and have Saha keep," Ponting said.
"It was a masterstroke to put him up there, but he still got to play that innings, and he did it. He does it in his own way; he does it with a bit of swagger and confidence. Taking on Lyon like he did, even with fielders out says he backs himself and his skillset. I said at the start of the series that there is a chance for him to cement himself as India's keeper-batsman for next 10-12 years and innings like today will go a long way in helping that." Ponting added.
Ever since Rishabh Pant made his debut for India, he has divided opinions among the cricket fans. However, his knock at the SCG showed what he is capable of as he almost brought India on the brink of an improbable victory.
Rishabh Pant's record against Australia in Tests
Rishabh Pant is once again proving his worth against Australia after a successful outing in the 2018-19 tour. The 23-year-old has played 15 Tests in his career so far, out of which six has been against Australia, the most against any nation.
In the six matches against the Aussies, Pant averages 56.89 and has scored 512 runs at a strike rate of 73.35. His career-best of 159* has also come against Australia.