Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant (AFP Photo)

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes that India should have no hesitation in selecting Rishabh Pant for the ICC World Cup in England as he is capable of winning the tournament with his ‘X-factor batting’. (READ: IPL crucial for World Cup selection – BCCI)

While Pant has churned out impressive performances in the Test arena with centuries in England and Australia in the past season, he has been unable to bring that consistency to the limited-overs setup despite his explosive batting style. This has to do with the fact that he’s not the first-choice wicketkeeper-batsman in ODIs and T20Is which reflects in the five ODIs he has played so far to 9 Tests since making international debut in 2017.

With the deadline for finalising the World Cup squad approaching, there are bound to be debates over who should make the cut in the 15-man squad. While MS Dhoni is going to be the first-choice wicketkeeper for India, Pant in all probability will travel as his backup and might even play as a specialist batsman.

But for Ponting, picking up Pant is a no-brainer.

“If I was the Indian selector, the first thing I will do is pick him in the World Cup squad and play him as a batter at No. 4. He’s that sort of guy, with a lot of talent that can win you a World Cup. He’s just got that X-factor type of batting that can win you a world cup,” Ponting, coach of IPL franchise Delhi Capitals said at a media interaction in the national capital on Tuesday.

However, Ponting feels the players in contention should keep the selection worries away from their minds and instead stay focussed on doing well in the IPL as it could brighten their prospects for the World Cup.

“I think all the guys should forget about what’s going to happen with the World Cup selection. We need those guys to focus on winning games of cricket for Delhi. If they score runs and win games for Delhi, then they will be rewarded with World Cup selection. There’s no doubt a few of those guys will be thinking about that but it’s important for us that they’re 100 percent committed to achieving what we want to,” said Ponting who himself led Australia to World Cup trophies in 2003 and 2007.