New Delhi, Feb 7: Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting said wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant is ‘very confident’ of playing every game in IPL 2024, but added that he’s still unsure of him to captain the side or be the keeper.
Pant, 26, miraculously survived a near-fatal car crash while on the way to his hometown Roorkee on December 30, 2022. He was then airlifted to Mumbai on January 4, 2023, for surgery and further recovery.
Since then, the left-handed wicketkeeper-batter has been doing extensive rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. Pant has been making remarkable progress in his recovery, with him being fit for IPL 2024 looking as a realistic possibility for making a return to competitive cricket.
"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.
"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," said Ponting in Melbourne to reporters after being named as head coach of Washington Freedom for the second season of the Major League Cricket (MLC) competition in the USA.
On a sensible note, Ponting said if Pant plays as many matches as possible in IPL 2024, it will be a bonus for the Capitals. "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."