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Rishabh Pant had to be ‘dragged out of the nets’ by Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting. The reason is…

Ahead of PBKS vs DC match, Ponting said Pant was so keen on making up for the lost time that he had to drag him out of the nets at times.

Legendary Australian cricketer and the current head coach of Delhi Capitals, Ricky Ponting is not ruling out a match-winning performance from DC skipper Rishabh Pant on his return to the cricket field after 15 months. Pant, who has been out of action since a horrific accident in December 2022, will be back as the leader of DC as the Delhi-based franchise kicks off their IPL 2024 journey against the Punjab Kings on Saturday.

Delhi Capitals captain Rishabh Pant with head coach Ricky Ponting during a practice session(PTI)

The second match of the 17th season will be played in PBKS’ new home ground Mullanpur. Ahead of the match, Ponting said Pant was so keen on making up for the lost time that he has had to drag him out of the nets at times.

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“We had a week’s training in Vizag before coming here and trust me Rishabh is back and ready to play. He is batting and moving behind the stumps beautifully. Sometimes he bats too much and I have to drag him out of nets,” the coach said in jest.

“I’ve seen where his game is at, and don’t be surprised if something special happens tomorrow. His attitude and smile and what he wants to do for the team is infectious. Everyone wants to be like Rishabh,” the Australian said.

The Capitals did their pre-tournament camp in Visakhapatnam as Feroz Shah Kotla was being used for WPL matches, and Ponting wanted a good start.

“Make no mistake, we have got a great team this year. Our preparations have been absolutely perfect. We are just looking to topping it off today, and make sure we put in a performance that I know would be good enough to win the game tomorrow,” Ponting said.

Ponting couldn’t be happier that his skipper is back where he belongs.

“We are about to start an IPL, it’s really an exciting time of the year. It becomes more exciting when your captain is back in your team. Last year, we missed him. He is our leader. He is the heartbeat of this franchise and having him back is going to make this team a lot stronger,” Ponting said when asked about Pant’s return.

Pant termed Pant’s comeback as an “amazing story that cricket loving people of India should be proud of.””When I met him during the IPL last year, he was on his crutches. Then we met at a camp in Kolkata, where he had started walking and was about to start jogging. Then I met him at the start of the camp. Look where he is now.

“Lot of people felt he might not come back but in his heart and mind, he never had those doubts at all. Matter of time for him to come back,” the coach said.

Ponting feels that if Pant is a bit nervous going into his first game, it is a good sign. “He will be a little bit nervous tomorrow, playing his first game in a while but nerves are always good because it means something to you. The day you are not nervous is the day you shouldn’t be playing cricket anymore,” Ponting was blunt.


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