Delhi Capitals (DC) head coach Ricky Ponting says he wants to have Rishabh Pant in the dugout during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, despite being ruled out for the tournament. His participation in competitive cricket for the entire year is in jeopardy after sustaining multiple injuries due to his involvement in a car crash on December 30.
However, Ponting wants to have have Pant around the team if the wicketkeeper has recovered enough. "I want him sitting beside me in the dugout everyday of the week," Ponting told the ICC review.
"If he's actually not physically fit enough to play, we'd still love to have him around. He's the sort of cultural leader around the group, being the captain, and that attitude and infectious smile and laugh he has is what we all love so much about him.
"I'll certainly be making sure, come the middle of March when we get together in Delhi and start our camps and stuff, if he's able to be there, then I want him around the whole time."
Due to the severity of his car crash, Pant has undergone two surgeries after he tore three of his knee ligaments and is due for another surgery in February. Without Pant DC are are in search of a new captain and a wicketkeeper. They have Phil Salt in their squad and other then him, they just have Sarfaraz Khan who is a part-time at best after keeping wickets in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for Mumbai.
"You can't replace those guys, simple as that," Ponting said.
"They don't grow on trees, players like that. We've got to look at - and we already are - a replacement to come into the squad."
DC finished fifth in IPL 2022 and lost in the second Qualifier in the season before that. Their best finish was however in 2020, when Shreyas Iyer-led DC made the final. IPL 2023 is expected to start end of March after the Women's IPL and is expected to end some time during the last week of May.