Ponting Pant

Ponting plots Rishabh Pant return in latest ICC Review

Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting has revealed how he plans to use returning star Rishabh Pant during the upcoming Indian Premier League season.

Pant is attempting to return from a major car accident in December 2022 and make his comeback to professional cricket for the Capitals later this month. The wicket-keeper/batter has already stepped up his recovery by appearing in a series of match practice sessions alongside India teammate Hardik Pandya at the National Cricket Academy (NCA).

Speaking to Sanjana Ganesan on the latest episode of The ICC Review, Ponting said he is expecting Pant to captain the side from the start of the tournament should his fitness allow.

“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,” Ponting said.

“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.”

Ponting on Pant's Delhi return | ICC Review

In the latest edition of the ICC Review, Delhi Capitals coach and ICC Hall of Famer Ricky Ponting gives his insight on how wicket-keeper/batter Rishabh Pant will reintegrate into the IPL setup.

Ponting said Pant had done a mountain of work to try and return to the cricketing scene and the recent hitouts at the NCA should keep him in good stead for Delhi’s opening match of the IPL 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,” Ponting said.

“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.”

Pant hits two one-handed sixes

Ponting spoke for everyone when he went on to discuss how the entire world was waiting for Pant to return to cricketing action after many difficult few months in recovery.

“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.”

Rishabh Pant: India’s ‘Pocket-sized dynamite’ | WTC21 Final | Ind v NZ

Acknowledging the natural talent of the swashbuckling Indian wicket-keeper, the former Australian skipper was confident that he would get into his stride as soon as he returned to play.

“Knowing Rishabh, it probably won't (take time to adjust) because he's such a natural talent and just knowing the sort of person that he is, I don't think he'll be awed,” Ponting said.

“I don't think he'll be scared by the comeback. The fact that he's missed 15 months of cricket, I don't think it'll faze him too much.

“I think he'll just go out there and certainly, that's my job anyway – I'll be telling him to go back out and play the way that he's always played and I think if he does that, I think the game will come back to him a bit quicker. If he goes out there and tries to find his way and get back into the groove, I think it might take him a little bit longer. 

“But at the end of the day, that's what these practice games now have been for, that's what the camp has been for, for us to get his skills and his mindset back into a place where he can just go out and play the way that he's always played.”

Rishabh Pant's sharp catch removes Gerhard Erasmus

The ICC ReviewRishabh Pant 10/04/1997Ricky Ponting 12/19/1974