By Baidurjo Bhose
New Delhi: There has been a lot of debates on who will be India’s No.4 in the upcoming World Cup. With India skipper Virat Kohli trying a few options in the just-concluded ODI series against Australia, the debate continues on who will finally board the flight to England when the Indian team leaves for the World Cup.
Delhi Capitals advisor Sourav Ganguly and coach Ricky Ponting believe that Rishabh Pant could be the answer to India’s woes as he has the temperament and talent to do the role in England.
“Look at how Pant played in the last IPL. In ODIs, Pant is coming in and going out because MS Dhoni is there and that doesn’t help. Pant is your future. For the next 10 years, you will see a lot of him. He will be a huge asset for the Indian team,” Ganguly said.
Echoing the sentiments, Ponting added: “I would be picking him in the Indian team as the batsman for No.4 as he can win you the game with his talent. We want him to focus on IPL because if the boys do well they will get a call for the World Cup.”
Ganguly said the Indian Premier League (IPL) will decide the No.4 slot. “Many choices are there but I think the IPL will in a way decide who will get that position. I had said (Cheteshwar) Pujara because he has been in good form. I saw (Rahul) Dravid do the role when I was captain. If you don’t have an option you can try him. Pant or (Ambati) Rayudu could be an option. We can give our opinion, but somewhere I feel Kohli knows who it should be.”
Commenting on Kohli’s position in the line-up, he said: “Kohli can play at any position and will score runs. But I prefer No.3 for him.”
Ganguly went on to add that this Indian team doesn’t rely heavily on the skipper. “These guys are really good. We didn’t think we will lose the final in the Champions Trophy. This team has a lot of talent. They will be favourites to win the trophy even though I don’t believe in the tag. You have (Shikhar) Dhawan, Rohit (Sharma), Dhoni, Kohli, (Jasprit) Bumrah, and others. I have no advice for this team, I just hope they play freely.
“Kohli is huge and all generations have had such class players. Every generation has produced champions and Kohli is a champion but I honestly believe that this Indian team has the arsenal apart from Kohli to do well. This is a very good side which doesn’t have too many weaknesses,” he said.
Delhi bowler Ishant Sharma has been on a roll in red-ball cricket and both Ganguly and Ponting feel that he is bowling his best right now.
“Ishant is bowling his best at the moment, the way he bowled in England and Australia. He is working really hard. Test bowling is the highest level you have to achieve. Ishant has the ability to adjust. You can see he is someone who is looking to turn it around,” the former India skipper said.
Ponting echoed the sentiments. “I think Ishant is bowling as good as ever. He is more mature and slightly refined. He is physically looking good,” he said.
(Baidurjo Bhose can be contacted at [email protected])