‘Pant will say I’m playing every game’: Ponting’s huge IPL update has a setback | Cricket

Rishabh Pant is ready for IPL 2024. As are Ricky Ponting and Delhi Capitals. The India wicketkeeper, who has been out of action since December of 2022 is set to make his grand return to competitive cricket at the IPL starting somewhere around end of March, and the world cannot wait to see how he is pulling up. Given the extent of Pant’s injuries, which have required more than a year to heal, there are some lingering concerns as to whether he will be as effective as before.

Rishabh Pant is set to return as soon as the IPL 2024, confirmed Ricky Ponting(PTI)
Rishabh Pant is set to return as soon as the IPL 2024, confirmed Ricky Ponting(PTI)

India surely would be hoping so since the wicketkeeping slot left vacant after Pant’s injury is yet to fill. KS Bharat has been unimpressive thus far in the seven Tests that he has played for India, while Ishan Kishan is nowhere in the scheme of things. But the road to an India comeback will go through the rigours of the IPL first, in which Pant is a guarantee, confirmed Ponting with a bit of a twist.

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“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,” during the event where he was revealed as Washington Freedom’s new MLC coach.

“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.”

Rishabh Pant’s biggest challenge

That Pant may not be able to keep wicket fully throws a spanner in the works. He missed the entire IPL last season as DC slumped to a ninth-place finish. But more important is his miraculously recovery post the unfortunate car crash. Pant admitted that he thought his life nearly ended when the accident took place, which speaks volumes about the hard work he has put in through rehab and at the gym. And now that he is on the verge of returning, Ponting cautioned against pushing Pant and his recovering body too far.

“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,” he pointed out.

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