IPL 2024: Ricky Ponting Said Rishabh Pant is ‘very confident’ of playing entire IPL 2024
Rishabh Pant is “very confident” he will be able to play the entire IPL, according to Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting, but Ponting is doubtful whether he would be ready to captain the team or retain wickets while still healing from injuries sustained in a catastrophic car accident.
Pant hasn’t performed since his vehicle accident in December 2022, when he believed his “time in this world was over.”
Ponting, who was introduced as the Washington Freedom’s new MLC coach on Wednesday in Melbourne, said Pant was optimistic about his availability for the upcoming season, but the coach stated everything they get from him is an added bonus.
“Rishabh is very confident that he’s going to be right to play,” said Ricky Ponting. “We don’t know in what capacity yet.
“You would have seen all the social media activity; he’s out and about and doing great. However, we are only six weeks away from the first game. So we don’t know if we’ll receive wicketkeeping from him this year.
“But I’m sure if I ask him now, he’ll say, ‘I’m playing every game, keeping every game, and batting at No. 4.'” That’s simply how he is, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed.
“He is such a dynamic player. He’s clearly our captain. We really missed him last year.
“If you consider the trip he’s been on over the last 12-13 months, it was a tragic incident. One that I know feels really fortunate to have lived, much alone have the opportunity to play cricket again.
“We’ll just cross our fingers and hope he can get out there and play.” Even if it’s not all the games, if we can get him through 10 of the 14 games or whatever it is, whatever games you get from him will be a bonus.”
Ponting confirmed that if Pant was absent, David Warner would take over as captain. The coach was pleased with the roster created after the December auction, but admitted his team had underperformed in the previous two seasons.
“With Harry Brook coming into the set-up as well, so Warner, [Mitch] Marsh, Harry Brook, we’ve got some really good overseas batters,” Ponting told reporters.
“Marsh and Warner will bat at the top, and Harry Brook has been finishing off for England, so he’ll likely play a finishing role for us there.
“If we can get [Anrich] Nortje and Jhye Richardson fit, and with the two spin options we’ve got with Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav we’ve got a really good squad that to be fair has probably underperformed the last couple of years, so we’ve got some work to do.”
Richardson’s availability will be a huge issue for the Capitals. The Western Australian fast has not played since injured his side during the BBL, and there is no timetable for his comeback to WA at the end of the Australian domestic season. He also had another shoulder dislocation prior to the BBL and was unable to throw throughout the games he played.
Ponting was more concerned about the Capitals’ batting, notably at their home field, Arun Jaitley Stadium, where they won only two of their seven home games in IPL 2023.
“Our batting was disappointing last year,” Ponting said. “A lot of the individuals we thought would be able to handle the difficult circumstances in Delhi, with a spinning wicket most of the time, were not good enough.
“To be honest, we’ve had some issues with our home arena. We show up every game without knowing what kind of wicket we’re going to receive.
“We’ve gone to the well with a couple of extremely excellent young Indian players who we believe are ready to play right away. That’s the issue about the IPL: it’s a year until the major auction, so you can’t really spend too much in these young players and expect them to improve overnight. You have to find the best player out there that you believe is ready to play. And we have a few of those this year.