Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting opens up on Rishabh Pant’s availability for IPL 2024

The Delhi Capitals’ roadmap for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 could heavily depend on the dynamic wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant’s return to full fitness, as articulated by the team’s head coach, Ricky Ponting. The uncertainty surrounding Pant’s ability to participate fully in the upcoming season remains a significant topic of discussion within the franchise.

Ponting has expressed that Pant feels highly confident about his chances of playing in the upcoming season. Despite this confidence, the legendary former Australian captain has reservations about the exact role Pant might be able to undertake on the pitch, particularly given the proximity of the tournament’s commencement.

“Rishabh is very confident that he’s going to be right to play. In what capacity we’re not quite sure yet,” Ponting divulged in a recent interaction with ESPNcricinfo. Pant’s social media updates have shown encouraging signs of physical activity, including running, which bodes well for his recovery. However, Ponting suggested a cautious approach, given the relatively short time before the IPL kicks off. There is a possibility that Pant may play as a batsman only, with his wicketkeeping duties being in question.

Ponting further highlighted Pant’s inherent confidence and assertiveness about his playing status: “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.”

The Delhi Capitals felt Pant’s absence last year and recognize his vital role not only as a player but also as their captain. Reflecting on the grievous accident that occurred more than a year ago, Ponting acknowledged the severity of the incident from which Pant is lucky to have emerged with the possibility of playing 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, emphasizing Pant’s pivotal presence in the team’s setup.

Notably, Pant’s rehabilitation and training regimen have been rigorous. His social media presence serves as a testament to his dedication, displaying videos of his strengthening exercises and showcasing significant improvement compared to his condition a few months prior.

In a display of camaraderie and support, Pant was recently seen engaging with his fellow Indian cricket team members at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru amidst the team’s preparation for their third T20I against Afghanistan on January 17. His interaction with team legends like Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Virat Kohli underscores the warmth and respect he garners from his contemporaries.

Pant’s potential availability adds a layer of intrigue to the Delhi Capitals’ strategy for the IPL 2024. The franchise’s ability to adapt to either his full participation or his limited role will be a testament to their flexibility and depth. With the season approaching, fans, management, and coaching staff alike await further updates on Pant’s recovery trajectory, which will undoubtedly influence the Capitals’ fortunes in the tournament.

As the IPL 2024 inches closer, the focus will remain on Pant’s physical readiness, while the Delhi Capitals will hope for his inspiring presence to guide them through the cricketing extravaganza that is the IPL.

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