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HomesportscricketLaid-back Rohit best man to lead India to third WC title: Ponting

Laid-back Rohit best man to lead India to third WC title: Ponting

Dubai: Australian legend Ricky Ponting believes a ‘laid-back’ Rohit Sharma is the ideal captain to lead India to their third ODI World Cup title, the second on home soil after the 2011 triumph.

With three convincing wins under their belt, India have made a perfect start to their World Cup campaign.

India defeated Australia by six wickets in their tournament opener, before registering emphatic eight and seven-wicket wins over Afghanistan and Pakistan to sit on top of the points table.

“He’s very laid back, Rohit. Very laid back with everything he does. You can even see that by the way that he plays. He’s a pretty laconic sort of batsman as well, and that’s the way he is both on and off the field,” Ponting told the ICC on Tuesday.

Rohit took the captaincy reins from Virat Kohli in both the white-ball formats in December 2021.

And Ponting believes Rohit’s character fits perfectly for the India job, allowing Kohli to focus on his batting.

“Someone like Virat, who is a bit more heart-on-the-sleeve, and probably listens to the fans and plays up with the fans a little bit more, someone with his personality would probably find it a bit harder,” the two-time World Cup winning Australia skipper said.

“But I think Rohit will be fine with it. He’s a terrific bloke and has been a great player for a long time, and he’s done a great job as leader of India.” The Men In Blue last won the World Cup when the tournament was jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in 2011.

So, the extra pressure of performing in front of home fans would definitely be there, but Ponting feels Rohit is the best man to deal with that.

“We can’t sit back and say that the pressure won’t get to them (India) at some stage, or it won’t affect them, because it will, just with the enormity of the tournament.But he’ll (Rohit) take it and cope with it as well as probably anyone,” he said.

Ponting said that with all bases covered, India are the team to beat in the ongoing showpiece.

“I said from the start that I think they’re going to be the team to beat. They’ve got a very talented team,” he said.

“They’ve got all bases covered with their fast bowling, their spin and their top-order, middle-order batting. They’re going to be extremely hard to beat. But we’ll see how they hold up under extreme pressure as well,” Ponting concluded.

India will next play Bangladesh in Pune on Thursday.

(Published 17 October 2023, 06:14 IST)

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