Fans were overjoyed on Wednesday as Rishabh Pant, Team India’s star wicketkeeper-batsman, marked his much-anticipated return to batting during a practice game at JSW Vijaynagar. A video capturing some of Pant’s shots during his batting practice surfaced on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), showcasing the left-handed dynamo’s characteristic flair and finesse at the crease. After enduring a severe car accident in December 2022, Pant had been undergoing a rigorous recovery process at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.
In an official update released by the BCCI on July 21, it was disclosed that Rishabh Pant had resumed both batting and wicketkeeping. However, the recently posted video was the first visual evidence of Pant’s return to the cricket field. The sight of Pant stepping onto the field drew a significant crowd, greeted with resounding cheers. One standout moment in the video captured Pant launching a lofted shot towards long-off, inciting enthusiastic support from the spectators.
Earlier this year, Rishabh Pant underwent ligament surgery due to injuries sustained in a car crash. The BCCI’s update on Pant’s recovery program highlighted strength, flexibility, and running exercises tailored for him.
Pant’s absence, a void keenly felt across all formats, had a notable impact on the Indian team. His unavailability resonated particularly in Test cricket. Following Rishabh Pant’s sidelining, the selectors experimented with KS Bharat and later Ishan Kishan as replacements. The absence of Pant’s dynamic presence was notably conspicuous during the World Test Championship final, where India’s aspirations to break a 10-year ICC title drought were thwarted by Australia.
— Md Israque Ahamed (@IsraqueAhamed) August 16, 2023
As the cricketing world gears up for the One Day International (ODI) format, with the World Cup scheduled for October-November this year, KL Rahul is likely to assume the role of the primary wicketkeeper-batsman. While Rahul’s experience and proficiency provide a reliable option, Ishan Kishan’s presence as the backup keeper emphasizes India’s depth in this department.
Ishan showcased his promise during the recent ODI series against West Indies, delivering consistent performances with half-centuries in all three matches. As fans eagerly await Rishabh Pant’s eventual comeback, India’s focus remains on breaking their ICC tournament jinx. The collaborative efforts of Rahul and Ishan will be vital in achieving this goal.
Before the World Cup, India will also participate in the Asia Cup, beginning their campaign against Pakistan on September 2. However, the availability of Rahul, who is currently recovering from a hamstring injury, for the continental tournament is yet to be confirmed.