Cricket
Will Rishabh Pant be ready for IPL 2024 to lead Delhi Capitals?

Will Rishabh Pant be ready for IPL 2024 to lead Delhi Capitals?

There is no timeline on return of Rishabh Pant months before IPL 2024. Hence Delhi Capitals might continue with David Warner as captain.

There are still two months left for IPL 2024. But everyone is waiting for Rishabh Pant to provide an update on his return. While Delhi Capitals director Sourav Ganguly claimed that Pant would return in IPL and will lead DC, is he ready at all?

Rishabh Pant is undergoing rehab after three of his ligaments in the right knee had to be reconstructed. The fact that Rishabh Pant is a wicketkeeper makes it even more difficult. He will have to be in a squatting position for longer. Hence, he can only return as a keeper-batter once he is 100% fit.

Can Rishabh Pant return as batter only?

That will be the ideal way to go. But when? The timeframe is the key. Even though Sourav Ganguly declared that he would be ready for IPL 2024, the BCCI medical team is not ready to put a timeline.

What did Sourav Ganguly say?

“He’s good now. He will play in the IPL next season. We were talking about the team. He is the captain, so he put in his views regarding the upcoming auction. That’s the reason he has come here, to finalise certain aspects related to the team,” Sourav Ganguly said on Rishabh Pant during a DC camp in Kolkata in November.

However, it’s almost January end and Rishabh Pant has only begun batting practice against throwdown specialists. He is yet to take heavy workloads and is not fit for competitive cricket yet.

Instead, the National Cricket Academy wants him to consult a specialist in the UK. If he does consult, he may not be ready to return in IPL 2024. Currently, Rishabh Pant is at the NCA undergoing rehab.

“Rishabh is doing well. But it’s still early to put a timeline on his return. Whether he can make a comeback in IPL will depend on a lot of factors including his fitness level. You have to understand that he hasn’t had high-intensity workouts due to the nature of the injury. We are hopeful he will return soon but there is no assured date,” a senior BCCI official told InsideSport.

Can Rishabh Pant lead Delhi Capitals?

Even if he returns, will Rishabh be ready to lead DC? In December, a Delhi Capitals official suggested that Rishabh could play some games as an Impact Player. But if he does play as Impact Player, who leads DC?

If Rishabh Pant plays as an impact player, he will be a batter. Hence, DC will call in a substitute while fielding, dismissing Pant as a fielder. He can’t lead in that case.

David Warner is likely to continue as an on-field captain even though Rishabh Pant remains the team leader. And considering that Rishabh may not be able to keep wickets, Delhi Capitals have already roped in five wicketkeepers.

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