Rishabh Pant is expected to return in IPL 2024 (Sportzpics)
Meanwhile, Ricky Ponting has suggested that Rishabh Pant will be back as their captain for the season.
Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting asserted that Rishabh Pant has been working hard to regain fitness as he is very confident of playing every match in the upcoming season of IPL. Pant missed the last season of the cash-rich league after sustaining injuries in a horrific car accident on December 30, 2022.
However, the former Australia captain said that the franchise is unsure whether Pant will be doing the wicketkeeping duties in IPL 2024.
“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,” Ponting told reporters.
Meanwhile, the DC head coach has suggested that Pant will be back as their captain for the season. In his absence, David Warner took over the charge and finished ninth on the points table.
“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.”
Ponting further reflected on the Delhi’s disappointing performance last year as he admitted that they were not good enough in their home conditions.
“Our batting was disappointing last year. A lot of the guys that we felt would be able to handle difficult conditions in Delhi, a spinning wicket a lot of the time, we weren’t good enough in those conditions. We’ve got some challenges with our home venue to be honest. We rock up every game, we’re not really sure exactly what sort of wicket we’re going to get.”
“So you’d go to the auction expecting you’re going to get one (type) of surface and you rock up for five games, seven games there and you get five different pitches so that does make it hard. But we definitely lacked on batting quality last year, which is what we’ve tried to really improve on this year,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ponting is confident that the team will bounce back this year with addition of new talents in the squad.
“We’ve gone to the well with a couple of really highly talented young Indian players that we think that are ready to play straight away. That’s the thing about the IPL, it’s one year to the big auction so it’s not like you can really invest too much in these young blokes and hope to improve them overnight. You’ve got to get the best talent out there that you think’s ready to play. And we’ve got a few of those this year,” concluded Ponting.