Pant confident of full comeback ahead of T20 World Cup 

Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting said that Rishabh Pant is confident of making a full return to competitive cricket in the Indian Premier League (IPL), months ahead of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024. 

A key player to the India setup, Rishabh Pant, missed out on international and domestic cricket after he sustained injuries in a horrific car accident in December 2022. He missed major international events for India including the ICC World Test Championship Final and the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup in 2023.

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After an arduous road to recovery, Pant was confident of getting back into full fitness and playing a major role in the upcoming season of the IPL. The T20 competition will be the last outing for India's international players before the T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the USA.

Speaking in Melbourne after unveiling his appointment as the coach of Washington Freedom (a Major League Cricket franchise), Ponting – the coach of Delhi Capitals, the team captained by Pant – talked about the 26-year-old's prospects in the upcoming edition.

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"Rishabh is very confident that he's going to be right to play," Ponting said. "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. 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 obviously our captain. We missed him incredibly last year."

Ponting said that getting any contribution from Pant would 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.

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"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."

A successful appearance in the IPL will be a litmus test for Pant before an eventual comeback to the national side. The Indian management would be optimistic that the player, boasting 4123 runs and 25 fifty-plus scores in international cricket while donning multiple roles for the team, can contribute to the upcoming T20 World Cup.

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The upcoming showpiece event will take place between 1 June to 29 June, with India playing their first match against Ireland on 5 June.