Rishabh Pant and Ricky Ponting. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Rishabh Pant’s anticipated return to the Delhi Capitals (DC) for the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL) has received a hopeful nod from head coach Ricky Ponting. Ponting revealed that Pant, who has been out of action since a car accident in December 2022, has shown promising signs of recovery according to his social media updates. While the southpaw’s readiness to resume his dual responsibilities as wicketkeeper-batter and captain is uncertain, Ponting remained cautiously optimistic.
The flamboyant player may also feature solely as a batter, and leverage the impact player rule. Ponting, now the head coach of Major League Cricket (MLC) franchise Washington Freedom, recognised the significance of the wicket-keeper batter’s potential return to the squad. However, confirmation regarding his readiness to shoulder his multifaceted role is awaited, which has kept his fans and the team on the edge as the IPL approaches.
“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 said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
“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’s such a dynamic player. He’s obviously our captain. We missed him incredibly last year,” he added.
Whatever games you can get out of Pant will be a bonus: Ponting
The 26-year-old, accompanied by Ricky Ponting, graced the 2024 IPL mini-auction in Dubai on December 19. The dynamic player has been diligently training at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru to stage his comeback. The former Australia captain remained optimistic about Pant’s return, and acknowledged the possibility of his availability for some matches, if not all, as a significant boost for the team.
“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,” Ponting concluded.