Delhi Capitals (DC) have zeroed in on Abishek Porel as the replacement for Rishabh Pant, who was ruled out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 after suffering multiple injuries in a car crash. With Pant out, the franchise has appointed David Warner to lead the team this season.
There's no doubt that Pant's void will be felt at DC, who along with being a sound wicketkeeper was also their leader and premier batter. The left-hander scored 340 runs at a strike-rate of 151.78 last season as DC narrowly missed out on a place in the playoffs.
While Sarfaraz Khan is expected to replace Pant as a wicketkeeper, DC have gone in with Porel, who was impressive behind the wickets for Bengal. Here are some interesting facts about DC's latest recruit:
An impact player
In his three T20s so far, Porel has either gotten into the XI as an impact player or has been replaced to make way for another. In fact, he made his T20 debut, replacing Mukesh Kumar in the XI against Odisha. He replaced Ranjot Khaira in the following game and his final T20 against Chandigarh, Agniv Pan came in for the wicketkeeper.
However, in his three innings in the tournament, the 20-year-old managed just 22 runs with a highest score of 20 not out.
How did he make it to DC?
Porel pipped the likes of Sheldon Jackson, Luvnith Sisodia and Vivek Singh to make it to the squad. All of them were closely watched by Sourav Ganguly, the director of cricket at DC and also by Ricky Ponting, the head coach, according to ESPNcricinfo. According to the same report, the players were put under many match simulation exercises.
Saha's replacement at Bengal
After Wriddhiman Saha opted out of the Bengal squad in 2022, Porel was drafted into the side, along with Sakir Habib Gandhi as the wicketkeeping options. Porel got the nod and in his first season, he went on to score 303 runs at 33.66, which included three fifties as Bengal crashed out at the semi-final stage.
The following season he scored a fifty in the semi-final and the final as Bengal finished second behind Saurashtra. In his only innings in the 50-over format, Porel scored 54 off 88 against Railways in the Vijay Hazare Trophy last season as Bengal went on to register a 57-run victory in Ranchi.
Anything noteworthy at the Under-19 level?
Porel scored 78 runs including a fifty in four innings in the Challenger Under-19 Trophy 2021/22 for India A, a domestic 50-over competition. He was also the leading run-getter for Bengal in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy, scoring 153 runs at 38.25 (SR 140.36). As a result, he was awarded the best Under-19 cricketer of the year by the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) in 2021-22.
ICC Under-19 World Cup
Porel was part of the five-member Indian contingent that was flown to the Caribbean after five players at the Under-19 World Cup 2022 tested positive for Covid-19. Porel though did not make an appearance, but the Yash Dhull-led side went on to lift the trophy.
What does he bring to DC?
Porel can be seen as a like-for-like replacement for Pant. A tall left-handed batter, who is not afraid of taking on short deliveries, Porel in age-group cricket and in patches at the domestic level has shown glimpses of power-hitting. He finished Ranji Trophy 2022-23 with 40 dismissals (36 catches, 4 stumpings), the highest in the competition, further highlighting his credentials behind the wickets.
(Cover image courtesy: PTI)
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