Delhi Capitals’ head coach, Ricky Ponting, expressed optimism about Rishabh Pant’s return to the team for the upcoming IPL season, emphasizing Pant’s determination to play every match. Pant missed the previous season due to injuries sustained in a car accident in December 2022. However, Ponting revealed uncertainty regarding Pant’s role, particularly in wicketkeeping.
“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,” Ricky Ponting stated.
While Ponting hinted at uncertainty, he affirmed that Pant would likely resume his role as the team’s captain. Reflecting on Pant’s dynamic playing style, Ponting acknowledged missing the captain’s presence last year and mentioned the hope that Pant would be back in action.
“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,” Ricky Ponting added.
Ricky Ponting also addressed Delhi Capitals’ struggles in the previous season, acknowledging batting disappointments and challenges with home venue conditions. He expressed the team’s focus on improving batting quality and emphasized the unpredictability of the pitches at their home ground.
“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 batting quality last year, which is what we’ve tried to really improve on this year,” Ricky Ponting stated.
Despite the challenges, Ponting expressed confidence in the team’s resurgence with the addition of talented young Indian players to 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 Ricky Ponting.