‘Its a big decision… we have to use him in a slightly different role’, Ponting plots Pants return to action

New Delhi: Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting has revealed how he plans to use returning star Rishabh Pant during the upcoming Indian Premier League season and also added that the whole world is waiting for Pant’s return to action.

Pant is all set to make his long-awaited return to competitive cricket in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) after obtaining the fitness certificate from the National Cricket Academy (NCA), sources told IANS.

Speaking on an episode of The ICC Review, Ponting expressed his expectation for Pant to lead the team from the tournament’s outset, provided his fitness permits.

“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,” said Ponting.

He also noted that the wicketkeeper-batter had put in a significant amount of effort to make a comeback, and the recent practice sessions at the NCA should prepare him well for Delhi’s IPL opener 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.

“We’ve obviously had worries and concerns that he might not have made it in time to be ready for the IPL this year. I mean, he was a huge loss for us last year and what he went through, we can’t even begin to describe what he’s been through the last 12 or 14 months,” Ponting said.

The former Australian skipper further expressed the widespread anticipation for Pant’s return to cricketing action after enduring challenging months in recovery after his near-fatal car crash in December 2022.

“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.” he said.


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