Ganguly, Ponting back Pant to be part of India's T20 World Cup squad

Ponting said Pant had been a little apprehensive early in the season but has "gotten better and better every game"

Shashank Kishore and Daya Sagar
Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Ponting believe Rishabh Pant should be in India's T20 World Cup squad based on what they've seen of him so far in IPL 2024.
"Yes, I think so, Pant should be part of the World Cup squad," Ganguly said in New Delhi on Monday. "He should bat in the middle order. Where exactly is difficult to say because of match-ups, right-left combinations depending on who bowls. It also depends on the situation."
Ponting said Pant was a little apprehensive early in the season on what he could do, especially with his wicketkeeping but he had "gotten better and better every game."
"He's starting to get a bit more trust and belief in his body as well," Ponting said. "I think early on he had been a little bit apprehensive as to what he could do, especially with the wicketkeeping side of it. With his batting, coming into the tournament, he had pretty good trust in his abilities.
"I think his batting is getting better and better by the game. I've been asked a lot already over the last couple of weeks, now that he's back and playing, what I think about his World Cup chances. I think he'll be in the squad for sure. I think he's too good of a player and can have too much of an impact on the game. He's the heartbeat and soul [of Delhi Capitals] and hopefully from here on, he can help us win some more games."
Pant, who made his return to competitive cricket after a 15-month layoff due to a car crash, has so far scored 254 runs in eight innings at a strike rate of 150.29. He has predominantly batted in the middle order and has kept wickets in every game, something Delhi's support staff seemed a little doubtful about at the start of the season. He's likely to compete with Sanju Samson, KL Rahul and Jitesh Sharma for the spot.
On Saturday, RCB's Dinesh Karthik said he was keen to try and make India's World Cup squad as well on the back of some exceptional performances in IPL 2024.
India will have to pick their squad for the T20 World Cup by the end of April.

Want Rohit and Kohli to hit from ball one at the World Cup - Ganguly

The other big question for India's selectors is the opening combination. It's clear Rohit Sharma, who was named captain as early as February by BCCI Jay Shah, will open but who will partner him?
Yashasvi Jaiswal is the incumbent but he has endured a lean run of form in IPL 2024, scoring just 121 runs in seven innings. While Ganguly doesn't believe Jaiswal's chances have diminished, he's clear the experience of handling pressure in crunch moments will be crucial, and that India need the experience of Rohit and Virat Kohli at the top of the order.
"We saw how Rohit batted at the 50-overs World Cup," Ganguly said. "He just came and hit from ball one and we were able to put so much pressure on the opposition in the first seven-eight overs. It gave breathing space for the lower order.
"I think Virat and Rohit should do the same. They're great players. For India, the most important thing in T20 cricket and I said this to Rahul [Dravid] in Australia [after the previous T20 World Cup] also. 'Just play without fear.' You can always control the innings if you lose wickets, but just go and hit."
Ganguly was asked about Rahul and how he'd been an example of someone with enormous ability but was often under scrutiny because of his approach in T20 cricket.
"I think I think it depends on what the captain and the coach instruct him to do in the middle," Ganguly said. "The other day I saw him play an innings against Chennai [Super Kings], which Lucknow [Super Giants] won. I thought he was exceptional. He played well at the top of the order and did exactly that was required to do.
"As I said, it's about playing freely and playing without fear. And I hope Rahul finds a method of playing T20 cricket. Because players like Virat, Rohit, Rishabh, Rahul, Surya [Suryakymar Yadav], Shivam Dube - there's exceptional six-hitting ability, it's enormous."
The Impact Player has been among the bigger talking points this IPL. Ganguly was asked if it was detrimental to the development of allrounders.
"A little bit, but good allrounders still play," he said. "Hardik Pandya is still playing. You look at. Rashid [Khan] he's playing in the XII straightaway. Glenn Maxwell, yes he's taken a bit of a break but he starts. Mitch Marsh started for us, although he did't get enough runs. Jadeja plays for Chennai, Nitish Reddy plays for Hyderabad. Russell and Narine play for KKR."