Ahead of the IPL 2024 season, all eyes are on Rishabh Pant, who missed last year’s tournament due to the injuries sustained in a horrific car crash on December 30, 2022.
Notably, Pant tore all three key ligaments in his right knee and had three successful reconstructive surgeries in the aftermath of the near-fatal accident.
Subsequently, the southpaw underwent an extended rehabilitation at the NCA and missed out on all the action last year, including the World Cup, WTC final and Asia Cup.
With less than two months remaining for the IPL 2024, Delhi Capitals (DC) head coach Ricky Ponting has revealed that Rishabh Pant is confident of making it to the side for the entire season.
However, Ponting is not yet sure about Pant taking the wicketkeeping gloves or captaining the Delhi-based franchise.
"Rishabh is very confident that he's going to be right to play. In what capacity we're not quite sure yet. You would have seen all the social-media stuff, he's up and about and running well. But in saying that we're only six weeks away from the first game as well. So we're not sure if we'll get wicketkeeping out of him this year," Ponting was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
"But I'll guarantee if I asked him now he'll say, 'I'm playing every game, I'm keeping every game and I'm batting at No.4.' That's just what he's like, but we'll keep our fingers crossed," he added.
As far as Ponting is concerned, Pant's availability for 10 of the 14 games would feel like a "bonus" for the Capitals.
"He's such a dynamic player. He's obviously our captain. We missed him incredibly last year. If you understand the journey he's been on the last 12-13 months, it was a horrific incident. One that I know he feels very lucky to have even survived, let alone have the chance to play cricket again.
"We'll just keep our fingers crossed and hope that he can be out there and play. Even if it's not all the games, if we can manage him through 10 of the 14 games or whatever that might be then whatever games you can get out of him will be a bonus," the coach remarked.
In Rishabh Pant’s absence, David Warner led DC in the IPL 2023 edition. The Capitals endured a dismal campaign, finishing the season in the ninth position on the points table featuring 10 teams.
However, Ponting is confident of achieving better results in the upcoming IPL season.
"With Harry Brook coming into the set-up as well, so Warner, [Mitch] Marsh, Harry Brook, we've got some really good overseas batters," Ponting said. "Marsh and Warner will bat up the top somewhere and Harry Brook has been finishing off with England, so he'll probably play a finishing role for us there.
"[If] we can get [Anrich] Nortje and Jhye Richardson fit, and with the two spin options we've got with Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav we've got a really good squad that to be fair has probably underperformed the last couple of years, so we've got some work to do," he stated.
(With Cricbuzz Inputs)