Delhi Capitals (DC) head coach Ricky Ponting has confirmed Rishabh Pant is confident of playing the entire season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, but is unsure in what capacity he will play. Pant was involved in a horrific car crash in December 2022 and has been out of action since then but is expected to be available for the upcoming IPL season.
"Rishabh is very confident that he's going to be right to play. In what capacity, we're not quite sure yet. You would have seen all the social-media stuff, he's up and about and running well. But in saying that, we're only six weeks away from the first game as well. So we're not sure if we'll get wicketkeeping out of him this year," Ponting said.
"But I'll guarantee if I asked him now he'll say, 'I'm playing every game, I'm keeping every game and I'm batting at No.4.' That's just what he's like, but we'll keep our fingers crossed," he added.
In Pant's absence, David Warner led the Capitals last season, and Ponting has confirmed that would be the case again if Pant misses out. However, Ponting hopes to make the best of Pant whenever he is available to play.
"He's such a dynamic player. He's obviously our captain. We missed him incredibly last year. If you understand the journey he's been on the last 12-13 months, it was a horrific incident. One that I know he feels very lucky to have even survived, let alone have the chance to play cricket again," Ponting, who was earlier appointed the head coach of Major League Cricket (MLC) side Washington Freedom, said.
"We'll just keep our fingers crossed and hope that he can be out there and play. Even if it's not all the games, if we can manage him through 10 of the 14 games or whatever that might be, then whatever games you can get out of him will be a bonus."
Ponting remains optimistic about having a good season, given that they had a decent auction where they got England batter Harry Brook and Australia fast bowler Jhye Richardson, among other talents.
"With Harry Brook coming into the set-up as well, so Warner, [Mitch] Marsh, Harry Brook, we've got some really good overseas batters," Ponting said.
"Marsh and Warner will bat up the top somewhere, and Harry Brook has been finishing off with England, so he'll probably play a finishing role for us there.
"[If] we can get [Anrich] Nortje and Jhye Richardson fit, and with the two spin options we've got with Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav, we've got a really good squad that, to be fair, has probably underperformed the last couple of years, so we've got some work to do."
The schedule for IPL 2024 is yet to be announced. The 17th edition of the tournament will, however, commence after the conclusion of the Women's Premier League (WPL) on March 17.