Former Aussie great Ricky Ponting hailed David Warner's impressive batting on return to the Indian Premier League, terming the knock a "great sign for Australia" ahead of the all-important World Cup in England and Wales this year.
Warner struck 85 off 53 deliveries on his IPL comeback after missing out on the previous edition of the T20 tournament along with former captain Steve Smith due to his role in ball-tampering controversy.
His heroics though weren’t enough for Sunrisers Hyderabad, who lost the match to Kolkata Knight Riders, thanks to Andre Russell’s heroics, but Ponting praised the left-handed opener.
"I spoke to him this morning, he said he was happy enough with the way that he played," Ponting, who is coach of IPL side Delhi Capitals, told reporters.
"He still felt he was scratchy, wasn't quite there yet, which I guess is pretty understandable.
"I actually felt that he might struggle in the first part of this tournament coming off not a very high standard of cricket over the past 12 months," said the batting great, who admitted to have missed watching Warner's knock.
He went on to add, "But great signs for him and great signs for Australia looking at the World Cup."
Ponting also praised rising Indian star Rishabh Pant who smashed a match-winning 78 off 27 deliveries in Delhi's IPL opener.
The 21-year-old Pant's whirlwind innings helped Delhi win by 37 runs after posting 213 for six.
"I have known through a couple of seasons that Rishabh Pant has got the X factor about him, but what I am liking more and more is how he is turning that into match-winning performances," Ponting said of the wicketkeeper-batsman.
"I have seen Rishabh mature his game and mature as a person and that's not the only game he wins for Delhi this year. He will win many more games for sure," he added.
On being asked about youngsters eyeing a World Cup place through the IPL, Ponting said, "If you are talking about Rishabh then I would still keep him and (Delhi captain) Shreyas (Iyer) in calculations for that World Cup squad.
"But all they can do is score runs in the IPL to give themselves a chance to get picked."