IPL 2021: Ricky Ponting picks team-wise one player to watch out for in the tournament

IPL 2021 will get underway on April 9 with the clash between MI and RCB.

Ricky Ponting
Ricky Ponting. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

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With the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) just a few hours away from getting underway, Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting has picked the players to watch for. Barring his team, Ponting has picked one player from the remaining seven franchises. IPL 2021 will get underway on Friday (April 9) with a mouthwatering clash between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Ponting’s team, on the other hand, will be in action on the second game of the competition when it takes on Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium. Talking about the players to watch out for, the former Australia skipper began by picking Suresh Raina from CSK. The southpaw had skipped the last edition of the IPL citing personal reasons.

Raina is CSK’s all-time leading run-scorer and would be desperate to hit the ground running in IPL 2021. In his absence, CSK failed to make it to the playoffs last year for the first time in IPL. From Kolkata Knight Riders, Ponting picked spinner Varun Chakravarthy. The spinner had picked up 17 wickets including the only fifer of the season in IPL 2020.

“He’s (Suresh Raina) one of the leading run scorers in IPL history and he plays a really important role for Chennai Super Kings in the middle order. Just his experience and the partnerships that him and (MS) Dhoni and Faf (du Plessis) and a lot of their senior players have created has been a reason the Chennai Super Kings have been one of the really powerful teams in IPL history,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.

“He’s (Varun Chakravarthy) a classic mystery spinner… he bowls an off spinner, he bowls a googly, he bowls a leg-spinner and he bowls a carrom ball that he flicks out the front of his hand. So he’s got the variations on his deliveries, but he’s also got a lot of pace variations as well. So he’ll start in the mid-80s (kph) with his speed and he can push it up to 110kph with the quicker one. He was a real find for them last year,” added Ponting.

Ricky Ponting’s remaining picks:

From Mumbai Indians, Ricky Ponting picked Hardik Pandya before going for Nicholas Pooran from Punjab Kings. Pandya had played a key role in Mumbai’s triumph last season as he starred with the bat. Unlike last year, Pandya would also bowl this year. Pooran, on the other hand, had looked good in patches but has the ability to emerge as a star for his team.

“He’s just an out-and-out power player now and he’s probably 75 kilos ringing wet, but he can bowl 140kph and he’s one of the best strikers of the cricket ball going around – he’s just a complete all-round package. I’m actually keeping my fingers crossed we get to see more of him at Test level,” Ponting said of Pandya.

“He’s a very, very good player and someone that will be in huge demand for years to come in these T20 tournaments. The Kings XI have done well this year, with him there and their (recently added) fast bowlers Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith both going there, it gives them a huge amount of firepower,” he added while speaking about Pooran.

From the remaining teams, Ponting picked Rahul Tewatia, Devdutt Padikkal and T Natarajan from Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. Tewatia left everyone impressed with his power hitting in IPL 2020 while Padikkal finished his maiden IPL season as RCB’s highest run-scorer. Natarajan also did well and picked up 16 wickets.