Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain and one of the greatest batsmen of all time, has named a group of young India batters who he thinks can make an impact in the next ICC World Test Championship (WTC) cycle. Ponting, who was speaking on the latest episode of The ICC Review, was impressed by the performance of Yashavi Jaiswal, who scored a century on his Test debut against the West Indies in Dominica.
Jaiswal, who was part of India's Under-19 World Cup-winning team in 2020, had a stellar season in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, scoring 625 runs for Rajasthan Royals and finishing as the fifth-highest run-getter. Ponting said that Jaiswal had "all sorts of talent" and predicted a bright future for him in Test cricket.
"I mean (Yashasvi) Jaiswal’s IPL was something special. He almost just flicked a switch and turned into a superstar overnight," Ponting told Sanjana Ganesan. "Everyone knew that he was a talented youngster, but what I saw in this year's IPL, he's got all sorts of talent."
Apart from Jaiswal, Ponting also picked out three other young Indian batters who he believes can shine in the longest format of the game. The former Australian coach named Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sarfaraz Khan, and Prithvi Shaw as potential stars for India in the WTC-25 cycle.
Gaikwad, who is also part of India's squad in the Caribbean, scored 590 runs in the IPL 2023 for Chennai Super Kings and was praised by Ponting for his versatility and temperament. The opener also has an outstanding List A record with 4034 runs in 72 matches at an average of 61.12.
"I'm on record saying that I think (Ruturaj) Gaikwad’s the same (as Jaiswal). I think he could be a very serious Test match player or all-format player really in the next couple of years," Ponting said.
Sarfaraz Khan, who played under Ponting at Delhi Capitals in the IPL, has an astonishing average of 76.32 in first-class cricket and has been unlucky to not get a chance at Test level yet. Ponting said he felt sorry for Sarfaraz as he has an average which is ‘unheard of’ in the domestic circuit still does not get picked and hoped he would get an opportunity soon.
"The one I do feel a little bit sorry for is Sarfaraz Khan. The fact that he hasn't got a look in a Test squad just yet considering he averages in the high 80s I think in first-class cricket, which is absolutely unheard of, but for some reason, they keep picking these other guys ahead of him," Ponting said.
The former Australia skipper stated that Shaw had immense talent and potential and backed him to regain his place in the Test team. "I think Prithvi Shaw is another one that's got so much ability. He's probably just got to find his way back into that Indian Test team again," Ponting said.
Shaw, who made a sensational Test debut with a century against West Indies in 2018, has had a roller-coaster ride in his career so far. He was dropped from the Test team after a poor show in Australia in 2020/21 but bounced back with a record-breaking run spree in domestic cricket but scored only 106 runs in eight matches for Delhi Capitals in the IPL 2023.
Shaw has been pushed further back in the line of openers for the Indian team with Gaikwad and Jaiswal ahead of him. Even Shubman Gill who is said to play at number three can open the batting and will if the need ever arrives. The Mumbai cricketer is also affected with many off-field troubles in the recent weeks but one would hope he gets his touch back and comes back to his old self.