'If He's Not Entirely Fit': DC Coach Ricky Ponting Opens Up On Rishabh Pant's Return In IPL 2024

'If He's Not Entirely Fit': DC Coach Ricky Ponting Opens Up On Rishabh Pant's Return In IPL 2024

Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting has opened up on Rishabh Pant's return ahead of IPL 2024.

ANIUpdated: Monday, March 11, 2024, 10:08 AM IST
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Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting with Rishabh Pant. | Agency Image.

Delhi Capitals (DC) coach Ricky Ponting has revealed how he plans to use returning star Rishabh Pant during the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

Pant is attempting to return from a major car accident in December 2022 and make his comeback to professional cricket for the Capitals later this month. The wicket-keeper/batter has already stepped up his recovery by appearing in a series of match practice sessions alongside India teammate Hardik Pandya at the National Cricket Academy (NCA).

Speaking to Sanjana Ganesan on the latest episode of The ICC Review, Ponting said he is expecting Pant to captain the side from the start of the tournament should his fitness allow.

"It's a big decision we'll have to make because if he is fit, you'd think he'd step straight back into that captaincy role. If he's not entirely fit and we have to use him in a slightly different role, then we've got some decisions to make there," Ponting said as quoted by ICC's official website.

Ponting said Pant had done a mountain of work to try and return to the cricketing scene and the recent hitouts at the NCA should keep him in good stead for Delhi's opening match of the IPL against the Punjab Kings in Mohali on March 23.

"He's actually played some practice matches over the last couple of weeks, which has been really encouraging for us. I know he's worked incredibly hard on his body and his fitness to get back to the level that he's at now. He's kept in one of those games, he's fielded in these games and the batting hasn't seemingly been an issue for him so far, the former Australia batter asserted.

"I think the whole world wants to see him back playing cricket again" - Ricky Ponting

Ponting spoke for everyone when he went on to discuss how the entire world was waiting for Pant to return to cricketing action after many difficult few months in recovery.

"I'm very hopeful, not from a selfish point of view as the coach of the Delhi Capitals, but I want to see him back playing cricket again. I think the whole world wants to see him back playing cricket again and just playing with that youthful exuberance that he has. If he does that, then I know he'll win some games for Delhi and we'll have a good time along the way this season," the 49-year-old stated.

"I don't think he'll be scared by the comeback" - Ricky Ponting

Acknowledging the natural talent of the swashbuckling Indian wicket-keeper, the former Australian skipper was confident that he would get into his stride as soon as he returned to play.

"Knowing Rishabh, it probably won't (take time to adjust) because he's such a natural talent and just knowing the sort of person that he is, I don't think he'll be awed. I don't think he'll be scared by the comeback. The fact that he's missed 15 months of cricket, I don't think it'll faze him too much," the cricketer-turned-commentator said.

"I think he'll just go out there and certainly, that's my job anyway - I'll be telling him to go back out and play the way that he's always played and I think if he does that, I think the game will come back to him a bit quicker. If he goes out there and tries to find his way and get back into the groove, I think it might take him a little bit longer," the Delhi Capitals head coach added.

The Capitals will open their campaign against Punjab Kings on March 23rd.

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