As Rohit Sharma came out for the toss at the Asia Cup opener, no one expected that he would shock some of the fans in the next few minutes. In the lead up to this game, it was Rishabh Pant who was tipped as the main wicket-keeper for India and Dinesh Karthik being the back up. It was for this simple reason that Dinesh Karthik travelled with second-string Team India to Ireland and even to West Indies, while Pant was given rest alongside top players like Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah.
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Going into Asia Cup, it was anybody’s guess who would have donned the gloves for Team India in the opening game against arch-rivals Pakistan. And yet Pant was sidelined and in came Dinesh Karthik the finisher. And just when it seemed that Pant would not make it in the playing eleven in the entire Asia Cup 2022, he was back! This time against Hong Kong.
Although, it must be noted that there is still some uncertainty whether who will play against Pakistan on Sunday, the cricketing world was left shocked with the way Pant was sidelined. Well, at least some them were.
For instance, someone who knows Pant up and close-Delhi Capitals mentor and coach Ricky Ponting.
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“I was really surprised. To be honest, there was some talk about it, once again on social media channels going into the game, which way would they go because I think they needed the sixth bowling option,” Ponting told ICC Review.
“He (Pant) is honestly one of my favourites having worked with him for a long time now at the Delhi Capitals, and obviously being a franchise captain. I have a bit more of a soft spot for him than most, but for all the right reasons as well because I know his character.
“I know his skillset, I know how much he wants to do well and how much he wants to win games – whether it’s for Delhi Capitals or for India.”
Despite the setback, Ponting believes it’s a matter of time before Pant fights his way back into the India XI.
“I don’t think it’ll be too long before we see him back into that team,” he said.
“But once again, when you look at the balance that India had though in that side, you know it’s hard to leave Karthik out because Dinesh is in career-best form, and by a long way.
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