'The way he thinks, he is actually a bit like Virat or Kane'
'He is energetic and you can hear that from behind the stumps, he loves being in the contest and he is a winner'
Rishabh Pant's thought process as captain is quite similar to Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson, says his IPL franchise Delhi Capitals' head coach Ricky Ponting, describing the sprightly wicketkeeper-batsman as a 'winner'.
Pant won his debut match as captain in the IPL against Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings and Ponting believes that his energy is simply hard to miss.
"Someone like him (Pant), you want him to get involved in the game as early as possible, and bat for as long as possible," Ponting told cricket.com-au.
"The way he thinks, he is actually a bit like Virat or Kane. Now, if they are in at the end, you are going to win more often than not no matter how many runs are required," the legendary Australian said.
"He is energetic and you can hear that from behind the stumps, he loves being in the contest and he is a winner," the DC coach was all praise for his captain.
Ponting understands that there will be questions about pant's glovework but asserts that he has shown remarkable improvement during the England series.
"...he's just brilliant. The comparisons are always going to be always there for someone who bats like that," he responded to Pant's being compared with his former teammate Adam Gilchrist.
"Gilly's keeping is better than Rishabh's no doubt about that. The way I saw him keep on turning pitches in India (vs England), I thought he kept way better than I thought he could," said Ponting, known for his bluntness.
"If his keeping improves, with his batting, he could be India's keeper in Tests for next 10-12 years no doubt."
The coach had no hesitation in revealing that the last edition of the IPL wasn't Pant's finest.
"He was disappointing for us in the tournament last year. He had gone (to the UAE) with a lot of overweight, on the back of the lockdown in India."
"He turned up a bit underdone, did his hammy (hamstring) in the third or fourth game and missed a couple of games. And when he came back, he couldn't get back to the level we expected him to be," Ponting recollected.
But he is impressed with how he has worked on his fitness since the start of the Australia tour.
"If you look at him now, he has trimmed down, he is fit, focussed and winning games for India, that can only be good for him and the DC."
'Pant has grown in last 4 months, will do a good job'
Legendary West Indian batsman Brian Lara believes young wicketkeeper-batman Rishabh Pant has improved a lot in the last few months and will do a good job in leading Delhi Capitals in the ongoing IPL.
The 23-year-old Pant was appointed as the Delhi Capitals skipper following the injury to regular captain Shreyas Iyer, which forced him out of the tournament.
Pant, a hard-hitting batsman, is in the form of his life and has emerged as a match-winner for India in the series against Australia and England.
"Around 6 months of international cricket for him (Pant) one against Australia and here against England. Now he (Pant) is responsible for the captaincy because of injury," Lara, who holds the record for highest individual score in Test cricket, said on Star Sports' Select Dugout show.
"Plus, he doesn't have the services of (Anrich) Nortje, (Kagiso) Rabada, and Axar Patel. So, they are asking a lot of him."
"I think he has got a team that will support him which is most important. He has grown in the last 4 months and I think he will do a good job."
DC had missed the services of Rabada and Nortje in the opening game as they were serving the mandatory quarantine, while Axar is recovering from COVID-19.
However, despite missing key players, Pant led Delhi Capitals to a winning start to their IPL campaign, defeating Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings in their opening match.
The game also saw the return of Suresh Raina and former India pacer Ajit Agarkar said the return of the experienced batsman will hold CSK in good stead after struggling last season.
"We saw their struggle when he (Raina) wasn't there last season; he has been prolific for the 13 seasons of IPL. The one thing he brings in is a lot of experience," said Agarkar.
"It's such a high-pressure tournament and you need the experience as you go deeper in the tournament -plus, his runs. They (CSK) will be hoping that he still has the form that was there before."