'No doubt in my mind that Rishabh, even in the last season, was the right choice for captain.'
Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting backed Rishabh Pant after his strategic blunder cost the team a spot in the play-offs, saying he is still young and learning the ropes of captaincy and remains the right choice for the job.
With Mumbai Indians in a spot of bother at 95 for 3 in 14.3 overs, while chasing a target of 160, Pant made a strategic blunder as he refused to go for the DRS after Tim David nicked the first ball of his innings and the on-field umpire did not give him out.
It came back to haunt Delhi Capitals as David slammed 34 runs off just 11 balls, with the help of two boundaries and four sixes, to put Mumbai Indians on course for an upset victory.
"Absolutely, no doubt in my mind that Rishabh, even in the last season, was the right choice for captain. Rishabh did a terrific job with the team after he took over from Shreyas (Iyer) after he injured his shoulders," Ponting said during the press conference after DC lost by five wickets.
“He is just a young man and still learning captaincy. Being captain of a T20 team, especially in IPL, which is a high-pressure tournament, is not an easy thing to do and, unfortunately, every single thing you do will be scrutinised. He certainly got my full backing."
Ponting said he was "gutted" to see the match slip away, but didn't blame Pant for the loss.
"It is always hard to put a finger on one single aspect of the game. Top of the order our batting was poor; we were four down for 40, which is not the ideal way to start a T20 game, especially big games which you have to win.
"Obviously, Tim David played well. He was probably out first ball but there are so many aspects of the game we will be disappointed with. The players need to learn from games like that.
"I feel pretty gutted that the game slipped through out of our hands; we didn't close out the match in the last few overs."
Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma also threw his weight behind Pant, saying such fumbles happen on the cricket field and he will come out stronger from the experience.
"He is a quality captain; we have seen it in the past season how he leads his team. Sometimes things don't go your way. I have gone through such situations, such things happen on the ground; sometimes things don't pan out your way," he said.
"He can take a lot of learning and try and keep things simple. He has a great mind, he reads the game well from behind, and such fumbles can happen and it is important to not doubt yourself. He will come back strong," he added.