A day after India’s humiliating loss against Australia in the first Test, which abruptly ended on third day after India’s horror batting show of 36 all out, Ricky Ponting has urged for Rishabh Pant inclusion in the second Test in Melbourne.
The two-time World Cup winning captain, who earlier said Rohit Sharma must bat as an opener in the second Test, feels with Virat Kohli unavailability for the remainder of the series India need all the help they could get and Pant must feature in that middle-order somewhere.
"They've got to make a couple of changes. Rishabh Pant has to be in that middle order,” Ponting told cricket.com.au. "With Kohli not being there they've got to strengthen their batting, he's got to come in.”
Pant exclusion from the first Test for Wriddhiman Saha attracted criticism especially after the 23-year-old southpaw scored a 73-ball 103 against Australia A in the pink-ball warm-up game in Sydney. Saha, on the other hand, only mustered 13 runs over two innings.
Ponting also backed Prithvi Shaw for the second Test while stressing that selection changes won’t be the only solution as team need to lift their spirit after such a bad outing at Adelaide Oval.
"They'll look at Prithvi Shaw at the top of the order I'm sure but there's one thing to make selection changes there's another to lift the spirits back up again and make sure they're mentally right for the next challenge because the Australians are not going to go away now.
"Now they're got a bit of a sniff they're going to go even harder next game,” Ponting concluded.