IPL 2024: Sunil Gavaskar Expresses Concern Over Return Of Rishabh Pant

Pant is still rehabilitating at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru to attain full match fitness before the start of the marquee tournament.
IPL 2024:Sunil Gavaskar Expresses Concern Over Return Of Rishabh Pant
IPL 2024:Sunil Gavaskar Expresses Concern Over Return Of Rishabh Pant

India wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant is set to make his long-awaited return to professional cricket in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL), after missing more than a year owing to life-threatening injuries sustained in a deadly car incident.

Rishabh Pant will lead the Delhi franchise in the tournament which is set to commence on March 22.

Pant is still rehabilitating at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru to attain full match fitness before the start of the marquee tournament. Furthermore, he is set to play more practice matches before taking center stage in the league.

Delhi Capitals co-owner Parth Jindal had said that Pant will play the entire competition, although during the first phase, he will only lead and bat for the team. The decision on his wicketkeeping role will be made later in the competition after observing how his body reacts to the exertion.

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar feels that things will be different for Pant on his comeback after multiple knee surgeries and he will need time to regain his hitting fluency.

"Knee plays a pivotal role in batting as well as 'keeping, which of course he may not do initially. Maybe he won't be the usual Rishabh Pant that we are used to seeing," Gavaskar said on a show on Star Sports.

"I'm also a big fan of him. For me, the most important thing is he should be healthy like before so that he can come and entertain us. It will be very difficult for him and it will take some time for him to get that batting fluency. But good that he has started training," he added.

To ensure a smooth return to the field, the 26-year-old is undertaking wicketkeeping drills and stimulation with rigorous fitness training.

Furthermore, Gavaskar urged the Delhi Capitals against forcing Pant into many roles after returning from a lengthy injury.

"He certainly has the ability to think on his feet. If he gets back to full fitness, the reins of (Delhi Capitals) captaincy should be handed over to him. Let's stay hopeful. This season is first of him coming back to full fitness. Let's not rush him into doing something that there will be a setback," Gavaskar added.

Pant is expected to mark his return in Delhi Capitals' season opener against Punjab Kings in Mohali on March 23.

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