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Want to see Rishabh Pant play for India as soon as possible: Michael Clarke

Rishabh Pant. (Source -IPL)

Former Australia cricketer Michael Clarke has opened up on Rishabh Pant’s performance against Kolkata Knight Riders on April 3. Pant smashed a 25-ball 55, including five sixes and four fours, in Delhi Capitals’ massive 106-run loss while chasing a mammoth 273. Clarke lauded Pant’s resolve as he has returned to cricketing action after recovering from the severe injuries he picked in a life-threatening car crash in December 2022. Pant underwent three ligament reconstruction surgeries, walked on crutches and spent months in rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru to be IPL ready. 

“Yeah look it’s great for Indian cricket, but it’s also great for Rishabh Pant. I think the work that has gone into his rehab to get back to that level of play at any standard is an amazing achievement. He deserves a lot of credit for his hard work and it’s great to see him on the field, captaining and playing well, batting and keeping. He looked a little bit sore, a little bit ginger, I saw the Delhi physio run out to the field a couple of times to check on him, so hopefully he’s pulled out okay, the positives are in the presentation he said he was fine and hopefully a day off or a couple of days off and he will be ready for the next game. He’s a wonderful player and everybody is happy that he’s back on the field and we want to see him play for Delhi, but we also want to see him come back and play for India as soon as possible,” Clarke said on Star Sports’ Cricket Live.

Clarke also spoke on KKR’s decision to send Sunil Narine as an opener. Narine was the chief contributor in KKR’s record score of 272, setting the tone with a blazing knock of 85 off just 39, with seven fours and as many sixes.

“Look, the thing is, KKR’s batting is so deep that you can afford to take that risk with Narine. So I think it’s a smart decision. I think the way he plays is maximum risk, so you have to accept that it’s not always going to come off as often as you’d like, or as often as a specialist batters can do. But I think he has done it before, he has done it successfully, and he strikes the ball as clean as anyone, so I think it’s a smart decision, I think it suits their batting line up and I think you’ll see him there throughout the IPL,” Clarke said.

Also read: IPL 2024: Who is Angkrish Raghuvanshi? – Everything You Need to Know About Kolkata Knight Riders’ all-rounder

Clarke also praised youngster Angkrish Raghuvanshi, the18-year-old who slammed a quickfire half-century (54 off 27) and ensured the carnage on DC bowlers did not come merely from Narine’s bat. “I loved watching him bat tonight. He got an opportunity, set in early, what a young, skilful, classy player. He’s got all the shots, he plays both offside, onside, the reverse, beautiful hands through the ball, so very talented and tonight he got the opportunity to turn that talent into performance. There’s no doubt that we are going to see a lot of this young man going forward. I think it will boost his confidence as well and KKR have so much stock, their batting is so deep, they are in for a big season.”

Clarke also lauded Andre Russell’s form this season. After Narine and Raghuvanshi’s assault at the top of the order, it was Russell and Rinku Singh’s cameos which added the finishing touches to KKR’s record innings.

“Andre Russell looks as fit as I’ve seen him. I know Andre quite well and I know he trains hard, he works very hard on his fitness, but I think when you look at him now, he looks lean, he looks fit, he’s batting and bowling, I think that’s because of the work he’s putting in that’s allowing his body to do both those things. His power hitting is as good as anybody’s in world cricket, and the way he finds a way to mistime the ball and still go over the boundary for sixes in phenomenal. I think he’s an important bowler as well. He bowls in the powerplay, he’s got good change ups in the middle and his death bowling is pretty important as well. So I think he’s a big part of KKR, has been for a long time and this season will be no different,” he said.

Also read: IPL 2024: Andre Russell praises Ishant Sharma for nailing yorker to dismiss him in DC vs KKR clash

Former India cricketer L Balaji spoke on Andre Russell’s bowling prowess this season. “He’s mixing it up, a lot of change ups, and definitely the variations are coming good this season. He’s looking absolutely fit this season, and his batting confidence is reflecting on his bowling performance. That confidence and that kind of conviction in his bowling definitely will help him this season and it’s a very big advantage for the KKR bowling line-up.”


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