BCCI officially declares Rishabh Pant 'fit as wicketkeeper-batter' for IPL 2024 | Crickit

BCCI officially declares Rishabh Pant 'fit as wicketkeeper-batter' for IPL 2024; India star set for blockbuster comeback

Mar 12, 2024 12:48 PM IST

Rishabh Pant will play the IPL 2024 for Delhi Capitals as a 'wicketkeeper-batter'

The stage is set for Rishabh Pant to come back to professional cricket, and come back as a wicketkeeper batter as the BCCI declared him a 100 percent fir for the Indian Premier League 2024. The India cricketer, who met with a horrific car crash in December of 2022, leading to him missing a packed cricketing calendar ahead, will make his much-awaited return for the Delhi Capitals when they open their IPL campaign against Punjab Kings on March 23 in Mohali.

Rishabh Pant is ready for IPL 2024. (PTI)
Rishabh Pant is ready for IPL 2024. (PTI)

"After undergoing an extensive 14-month rehab and recovery process, following a life-threatening road mishap on December 30th, 2022, @RishabhPant17 has now been declared fit as a wicket-keeper batter for the upcoming #TATA @IPL 2024," BCCI posted on X.

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Pant has been making steady progress since undergoing surgery in the first half of 2023, and his comeback, from scratch, promises to be bigger than ever. For the better part of last year, Pant has shown rapid improvement, and the outcomes were visible as he, every now and then, turned up for the occasional net sessions. As the suspense around his absence grew, Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting and director Sourav Ganguly kept stirring the pot by providing positive updates about Pant's return just in the nick of time for the IPL 2024. Even Parth Jindal, the co-owner of the Capitals had said that Pant will play as a batter but had also mentioned 'depending on how his body reacts, we will take a call for the rest of the IPL'

In between, Ponting had raised some concerns as to if Pant will play purely as a batter, as there existed lingering doubts over his ability to keep wicket. However, as convincing as their statements sounded, the BCCI remained tight-lipped about Pant's progress. Until now. The official update means that Pant will bat and also keep, but that being said, whether DC makes Pant, who will return as their captain, go through the drill for the entire season is unlikely. This will be the first form of top-flight Pant will play in 15 months and, and hence, pushing him to the limit physically may not be the greatest of ideas for the Capitals.

Just last month, Pant began simulation exercises in Bengaluru, which saw him play a 20-over exhibition match in Alur. Under the keen eyes of the NCA staff, Pant struck one-handed sixes with no discomfort at all. And although there was no certainty about him keeping wicket but today's update promises to dismiss any concerns that may have been.

Pant in line for T20 World Cup?

When Pant showed up in Bengaluru, ahead of India's third T20I against Afghanistan, it was only a matter of time before his fitness was made official. With this announcement, Pant also straightaway jumps back in contention for a berth in India's T20 World Cup plans. Just yesterday, BCCI secretary Jay Shah stated that 'if Pant can keep wicket, he will play the World Cup'. And now that he can, the 26-year-old is all but guaranteed to board the flight to the West Indies and USA. India's squad for the T20 World Cup starting June 1 is expected during the first week of May.

If Pant is back in the fray, it will solve India's wicketkeeper conundrum. Ishan Kishan is going to be out for a while, and KL Rahul may or may not keep wicket, given his workload management. And, with Sanju Samson and Jitesh Sharma are yet to cement their places in the India XI permanently, Pant can walk into the team.

Prasidh, Shami out

The BCCI provided crucial updates on the availability status of India pacers Prasidh Krishna and Mohammed Shami, ruling them both out of the tournament. Shami, who underwent surgery on his ankle a little while ago was reportedly ruled out 10 days back, and the BCCI's update only makes the development more concrete. As for Prasidh, he too went surgery on his left quadriceps tendon and will play no part for the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2024. This is the second straight IPL season that Prasidh will miss.

There has been no update on KL though. The Lucknow Super Giant skipper is back in India following his short trip to London for a medical examination, and currently undergoing rehab at the NCA. He complained of pain in his right quadriceps and was ruled out of first the Visakhapatnam Test against England before being sidelined for the entire series.

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