Rohit Sharma, the Mumbai Indians (MI) skipper, recalled how Ricky Ponting's arrival completely transformed MI from a mid-table side to a mighty juggernaut that would go on to become the most successful franchise in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Rohit heaped effusive praise on Ponting's leadership and coaching qualities during an Instagram live session with his India teammate and off-spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin.
"I feel Ponting is a guy from another planet. He knows how to bring out the best in someone. He has won two World Cups for Australia. So he knows how to win Championships," he said.
"In 2013, we got Ricky Ponting in the auction. In 2012 Sachin paaji said that he would not lead Mumbai Indians and Bhajju paa (Harbhajan) was made the skipper. But in 2013, I don't know why Bhajju paa wasn't the captain. And I thought I will be made the captain, but then Ponting was bought in the auction."
"Ponting was the first one to arrive in India for the 2013 season. He wanted to understand everyone. He said that he wanted to have a team bonding session first. In a way, it made a very positive impact on everyone. Ponting really motivated the younger guys," Rohit added.
Ponting was appointed captain for the 2013 season. But he selflessly stepped aside mid-way through the tournament because of his poor run with the bat and let Rohit took over.
He remained part of the set-up, however, and provided Rohit all the background support, as the then youngster led MI to its first IPL trophy. The team has been winning the title every alternative year since.
Ponting also served MI as the team's head coach for three years.
"But then he was not scoring runs, he decided to step down as the skipper, but eventually Ponting called me and I was given the captaincy. Ponting actually was player-cum-coach during the 2013 season. He was always there to help me," said Rohit.
After parting ways with MI, Ponting joined the Delhi franchise as a coach. He guided Delhi Capitals (DC) to play-offs after seven years in IPL 2019.
(Inputs from ANI)