Delhi Capitals’ (DC) head coach Ricky Ponting said that Rishabh Pant was “very confident” that he would gain the desired fitness to take part in the 2024 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Pant missed playing in IPL 2023 after the multiple injuries he sustained in a car crash in the last week of December 2022. In fact, since playing in the tour of Bangladesh, Pant hasn’t played any competitive matches.
Ponting, in the meantime, said that the Capitals are yet to decide on the role that Pant is expected to play in IPL 2024. The veteran said that DC are unsure if they will give wicketkeeping duties to the youngster.
Ponting shared the update on Pant while speaking from Melbourne after being named as the new head coach of the Washington Freedom in Major League Cricket (MLC) 2024.
“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,” Ponting said, as quoted by ICC.
“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. 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 obviously our captain. We missed him incredibly last year,” Ponting said.
Ponting said that since the accident, the 26-year-old Pant has had to put in the hard yards to get back in shape.
“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,” Ponting added.
Last year, Pant graced the Arun Jaitley Stadium with his presence, cheering for the Capitals. But in a recent interview, he said that he did not enjoy seeing the Capitals lose one match after the other. The southpaw said that when his team was struggling, he wanted to go out and put his plans in place.