Things have changed drastically in Indian cricket in the last year. Rohit is the undisputed leader, tasked to stabilise and strengthen the future. Pant is touted as one for the future.
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Rohit’s international career may be a decade older than Pant but both have a common catalyst in Ricky Ponting. It was Ponting who initiated Rohit’s captaincy career at MI in 2013 by relinquishing captaincy mid-season to become player-cum-coach. He nominated the 25-year-old Rohit to take over the leadership role of the franchise at a time when the opening better was yet to cement a place in Team India’s XI.
In the Capitals set up, it was again head coach Ponting who backed 24-yearold Pant over Shreyas Iyer when it came to choosing a captain.
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Pant never misses an opportunity to point out Ponting’s contribution in his evolution as an international player. Pant’s proximity to Rohit is also not secret. Rohit has been his staunchest supporter even during Pant’s low moments.
Ponting sees traces of Rohit in Rishabh’s evolution. “I think they are actually quite similar. When Rohit took over at Mumbai, he was quite a young man as well and he just sort of started out in his international career. He probably would have been of similar age to what Rishabh over here,” Ponting said.
“I know they’re great mates and they probably exchange things about leadership and captaincy along the way as well,” he said. “There is every opportunity for Rishabh’s journey to be quite similar to Rohit. Taking over as a young captain of a successful franchise and growing on a daily basis. Hopefully Rishabh can have the same sort of success that Rohit had in Mumbai Indians.”
Pant has grown beyond being Dhoni’s understudy to someone who is following the footsteps of Rohit. “Rishabh’s maturity over the last 18 months has been outstanding,” Ponting said.