Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has emphasized Rohit Sharma’s role as crucial in India’s ability to perform well and hailed him as an “ideal captain” as the Men-in-Blue strive to clinch the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 title on their home ground.
India have made a fantastic start to their 2023 World Cup campaign with emphatic triumphs over five-time champions Australia, Afghanistan and arch-rivals Pakistan.
The three victories have propelled Rohit-led side to the top of the standings and brushed aside worries regarding how the hosts would handle the added pressure of performing in front of passionate fans.
“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.
“We can’t sit back and say that the pressure won’t get to them at some stage, or it won’t affect them, because it will, just with the enormity of the tournament. But he’ll take it and cope with it as well as probably anyone,” he said.
Rohit has captained India in ODIs after taking the reins from Virat Kohli in both white-ball formats since December 2021.
Ponting asserts that the Rohit is the perfect leader for India as they compete in the premier event on their home turf, enabling Kohli to concentrate on his prominent batting role.
“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
“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,” Ponting added.
India last won the Cricket World Cup when the tournament was held across three countries including their own in 2011, when they beat fellow hosts Sri Lanka at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
The two-time World Cup-winning captain thinks the trophy is all but there for India’s taking this time around.
“I said from the start that I think they’re going to be the team to beat. They’ve got a very talented team. 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.