Pant will be under the scanner in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) after his dismal displays for India in the recent ODI series defeat to Australia. The young wicketkeeper stood in for MS Dhoni in the fourth and fifth ODIs where his glovework behind the stumps came under increasing criticism.
However, Ponting and Ganguly are backing Pant to rediscover his 2018 IPL form where he smashed 684 runs at an average of 52.61 and a staggering strike-rate of 173.60.
“I would be picking him in the Indian team as the batsman for No.4 as he can win you the game with his talent. We want him to focus on IPL because if the boys do well they will get a call for the World Cup,” Ponting said in a press conference on Tuesday.
The former Australian skipper’s sentiments were echoed by Ganguly who is predicting a bright long-term future for the young wicketkeeper batsman.
“Look at how Pant played in the last IPL. In ODIs, Pant is coming in and going out because MS Dhoni is there and that doesn’t help. Pant is your future. For the next 10 years you will see a lot of him. He will be a huge asset for the Indian team,” Ganguly stated.
Although Kohli has stated that IPL performances will have no bearing on World Cup squad selections, Ganguly feels the upcoming franchise T20 league will help India decipher their No4 batting woes.
“Many choices are there but I think the IPL will in a way decide who will get that position. I had said (Cheteshwar) Pujara because he has been in good form. I saw (Rahul) Dravid do the role when I was captain. If you don’t have an option you can try him. Pant or (Ambati) Rayudu could be an option. We can give our opinion, but somewhere I feel Kohli knows who it should be,” he explained.
Delhi Capitals will be hunting for their maiden IPL title when the tournament gets underway on March 23. Captained by young Shreyas Iyer, Delhi will be hoping to make amends for their bottom-place finish in the previous edition.
Iyer and his men will open their IPL 2019 campaign against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium on March 24.
The BCCI on Tuesday released the schedule for the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) fixtures between April 6 and May 5.
The BCCI had earlier announced a provisional two-week initial schedule owing to the uncertainty surrounding the dates for India’s upcoming general election. With the Election Commission of India announcing the dates for the country’s general elections recently, the BCCI had released the schedule for the remainder of the league stage.
The schedule for the play-offs and the final are yet to be announced by the governing body. However, according to a report by ESPNcricinfo, the final of the IPL will be held at Chennai on May 12. The same report goes on to add that the first Qualifier will be held on May 7 followed by the Eliminator on May 8 while the second Qualifier will take place on May 10.
The format for the 2019 edition will follow the standard double round-robin approach of the eight franchises playing seven matches each at home and as many of them away.
Viewers in the UAE can catch all the 2019 IPL action on beIN Sports.
IPL COMPLETE LEAGUE STAGE SCHEDULE (EXCLUDING KNOCKOUTS)
Saturday, March 23
Chennai Super Kings v Royal Challengers Bangalore – 18:30 GST, Chennai
Sunday, March 24
Kolkata Knight Riders v Sunrisers Hyderabad – 14:30 GST, Kolkata
Mumbai Indians v Delhi Capitals – 18:30 GST, Mumbai
Monday, March 25
Rajasthan Royals v Kings XI Punjab – 18:30 GST, Jaipur
Tuesday, March 26
Delhi Capitals v Chennai Super Kings – 18:30 GST, Delhi
Wednesday, March 27
Kolkata Knight Riders v Kings XI Punjab – 18:30 GST, Kolkata
Thursday, March 28
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Mumbai Indians – 18:30 GST, Bengaluru
Friday, March 29
Sunrisers Hyderabad v Rajasthan Royals – 18:30 GST, Hyderabad
Saturday, March 30
Kings XI Punjab v Mumbai Indians – 14:30 GST, Mohali
Delhi Capitals v Kolkata Knight Riders – 18:30 GST, Delhi
Sunday, March 31
Sunrisers Hyderabad v Royal Challengers Bangalore – 14:30 GST, Hyderabad
Chennai Super Kings v Rajasthan Royals – 18:30 GST, Chennai
Monday, April 1
Kings XI Punjab v Delhi Capitals – 18:30 GST, Mohali
Tuesday, April 2
Rajasthan Royals v Royal Challengers Bangalore- 18:30 GST, Jaipur
Wednesday, April 3
Mumbai Indians v Chennai Super Kings – 18:30 GST, Mumbai
Thursday, April 4
Delhi Capitals v Sunrisers Hyderabad 18:30 GST, Delhi
Friday, April 5
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kolkata Knight Riders – 18:30 GST, Bengaluru
Saturday, April 6
Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI Punjab – 14:30 GST, Chennai
Sunrisers Hyderabad v Mumbai Indians – 18:30 GST, Hyderabad
Sunday, April 7
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Delhi Capitals – 14:30 GST, Bengaluru
Rajasthan Royals v Kolkata Knight Riders – 18:30 GST, Jaipur
Monday, April 8
Kings XI Punjab v Sunrisers Hyderabad – 18:30 GST, Mohali
Tuesday, April 9
Chennai Super Kings v Kolkata Knight Riders – 18:30 GST, Chennai
Wednesday, April 10
Mumbai Indians v Kings XI Punjab – 18:30 GST, Mumbai
Thursday, April 11
Rajasthan Royals v Chennai Super Kings – 18:30 GST, Jaipur
Friday, April 12
Kolkata Knight Riders v Delhi Capitals – 18:30 GST, Kolkata
Saturday, April 13
Mumbai Indians v Rajasthan Royals – 14:30 GST, Mumbai
Kings XI Punjab v Royal Challengers Bangalore – 18:30 GST, Mohali
Sunday, April 14
Kolkata Knight Riders v Chennai Super Kings – 14:30 GST, Kolkata
Sunrisers Hyderabad v Delhi Capitals – 18:30 GST, Hyderabad
Monday, April 15
Mumbai Indians v Royal Challengers Bangalore – 18:30 GST, Mumbai
Tuesday, April 16
Kings XI Punjab v Rajasthan Royals – 18:30 GST, Mohali
Wednesday, April 17
Sunrisers Hyderabad v Chennai Super Kings – 18:30 GST, Hyderabad
Thursday, April 18
Delhi Capitals v Mumbai Indians – 18:30 GST, Delhi
Friday, April 19
Kolkata Knight Riders v Royal Challengers Bangalore – 18:30 GST, Kolkata
Saturday, April 20
Rajasthan Royals v Mumbai Indians – 14:30 GST, Jaipur
Delhi Capitals v Kings XI Punjab – 18:30 GST, Delhi
Sunday, April 21
Sunrisers Hyderabad v Kolkata Knight Riders – 14:30 GST, Hyderabad
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Chennai Super Kings – 18:30 GST, Bengaluru
Monday, April 22
Rajasthan Royals v Delhi Capitals – 18:30 GST, Jaipur
Tuesday, April 23
Chennai Super Kings v Sunrisers Hyderabad – 18:30 GST, Chennai
Wednesday, April 24
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kings XI Punjab – 18:30 GST, Bengaluru
Thursday, April 25
Kolkata Knight Riders v Rajasthan Royals – 18:30 GST, Kolkata
Friday, April 26
Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians – 18:30 GST, Chennai
Saturday, April 27
Rajasthan Royals v Sunrisers Hyderabad – 18:30 GST, Jaipur
Sunday, April 28
Delhi Capitals v Royal Challengers Bangalore – 14:30 GST, Delhi
Kolkata Knight Riders v Mumbai Indians – 18:30 GST, Kolkata
Monday, April 29
Sunrisers Hyderabad v Kings XI Punjab – 18:30 GST, Hyderabad
Tuesday, April 30
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Rajasthan Royals – 18:30 GST, Bengaluru
Wednesday, May 1
Chennai Super Kings v Delhi Capitals – 18:30 GST, Chennai
Thursday, May 2
Mumbai Indians v Sunrisers Hyderabad – 18:30 GST, Mumbai
Friday, May 3
Kings XI Punjab v Kolkata Knight Riders – 18:30 GST, Mohali
Saturday, May 4
Delhi Capitals v Rajasthan Royals – 14:30 GST, Delhi
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Sunrisers Hyderabad – 18:30 GST, Bengaluru
Sunday, May 5
Kings XI Punjab v Chennai Super Kings – 14:30 GST, Mohali
Mumbai Indians v Kolkata Knight Riders – 18:30 GST, Mumbai
The Australian batsman joined up with the squad on Monday ahead of the 2019 edition of the league.
“It’ll be great, makes things easier for me, batting with Jos,” Smith said during a live chat on Royals’ social media platforms.
“He’s an exciting player and one of the most destructive batters around the world. I’m really excited to play with him.”
Smith underwent elbow surgery earlier this year and has been readying himself for action in the IPL.
“I’ll be hitting as many balls as I can, getting myself into a good rhythm. I started batting a couple of weeks ago back home and I feel like I’m hitting the ball really well.”
This season will hand Smith his first opportunity to shine in front of the Jaipur crowd. He joined Rajasthan in 2014 but only played in the UAE due to general elections. He then turned out for Rising Pune Supergiants as the Royals were banned for two years for spot-fixing.
A ball-tampering scandal with Australia mean Smith missed last season after the BCCI banned him for a year.
“I never actually got a chance to play in Jaipur with the Royals. I’m really excited about that. I’m sure the fans are going to come out in big numbers and support us.”