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Ashwin-Pant role-reversal ahead of Rajasthan Royals vs Delhi capitals IPL tie brings out Ricky Ponting’s quirky side

R Ashwin stood behind Rishabh Pant in the nets and said a few things which caught Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting’s attention.

If there’s one thing the world of cricket has missed about Rishabh Pant more than his batting, it’s his constant stump-mic chatter. For years now, Pant’s gems have been captured real-time on the mic, be in sledging opponents, motivating his teammates or an advice or two here and there to his captain. But ever since he’s been away, the stump mic has fallen aloof. Of course, Rohit Sharma’s gems are have made up for it, but with Pant, it’s a different kind of an environment altogether.

R Ashwin and Rishabh Pant: The banter has begun. (AFP-ANI)

Pant’s road back to the Indian team starts with the IPL. The Delhi Capitals made his much-awaited comeback to competitive cricket and even though he was dismissed for 18, Pant looked confident and assured. He will have the chance to build on it as DC have a crack at Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur on Thursday, ahead of which, Ravichandran Ashwin came up with his own ways to motivate Pant.

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In a classic case of role-reversal, Ashwin took his position behind Pant as he faced bowlers in the nets. Similar to how Pant would often chirp away with ‘Come on Ash’ chants, Ashwin picked a page out of the 26-year-old’s book and encouraged the batter with ‘Come on, Rishabh’ chants. Surprisingly, the next ball Pant deposited into the stands, which prompted Ashwin to say: “Keep playing. Yes! Well done. What a shot, man. A little bit of encouragement and you hit it for a six.”

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However, it was DC coach Ricky Ponting’s reaction that took the cake. “Please stand behind him in the game,” he said, funny enough to bring a laughter out of Ashwin.

Pant and Ashwin can have a go at each other as DC seek their first win of the season. The Royals started their campaign with a win, defeating Lucknow Super Giants during the first match of Saturday’s double-header. Ashwin, who gave away 35 runs for one wicket, dismissing Marcus Stoinis cheaply, will be eyeing a better outing. As will Pant, against a solid bowling line-up that features Trent Boult, Yuzvendra Chahal and of course, Ashwin.


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