Off The Field

Mind your expectations with Pant: Smith on batter’s comeback

Written by Vishwas Gupta

Australia cricketer Steve Smith warned cricket enthusiasts about sky-high expectations from Rishabh Pant ahead of Delhi Capitals’ clash against Punjab Kings in the second IPL 2024 match on March 23 in Mohali. The match marks a return to cricketing action for Pant, 14 months after his horror car accident in December 2022. The DC captain will be looking to mark an emphatic return to the iconic franchise league, by helping his side register an opening victory.

While talking to Star Sports ahead of the match on Saturday, Smith asked fans to manage their expectations and enjoy Pant’s long-desired comeback to the field.

“He is an absolute superstar. It’s not like he has come back after a two month break like like Virat, he is back after close to 18 months… He has not been able to hit the ball in that time, and he’s coming back to one of the biggest tournaments in the world with top players. We need to manage our expectations, and hopefully he hits the ground running, but we need to be careful there as well,” Smith said.

The batter went through intense rehabilitation and improvement sessions in Bengaluru’s National Cricket Academy, with an admirable focus on returning to playing cricket. The 26-year-old wicketkeeper-batter was declared fit by the BCCI medical team for the IPL 2024 season, only a few days ahead of the tournament. Fans and cricket greats have all poured in words of praise and sent their best wishes to the batter ahead of his comeback to competitive cricket in DC’s clash against PBKS.

Pant will be hoping to get back into his usual prowess in the IPL, after missing out last season and only managing 340 runs across his 14 IPL 2022 matches. Pant will be leading the line of DC batters in their first match alongside the likes of David Warner and Mitchell Marsh.

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Vishwas Gupta