Delhi Capitals head coach and former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting said that the skipper Rishabh Pant is the Delhi franchise’s heart and soul. The India wicketkeeper-batter will miss the entire IPL 2023 season, as he is currently undergoing rehabilitation after a gruesome accident in December last year. Notably, the 25-year-old cricketer suffered severe injuries in a near-fatal car accident in which his car collided with the road divider and caught fire.
Ponting said that the entire team will miss his absence in the upcoming IPL season. The Australian said that the Indian cricketer is one of the best players across all formats of the game. The 48-year-old also claimed that the youngster is irreplaceable. The former Australian skipper further added that the team is now concentrating more on working with its current squad to make them better.
“He’s a huge loss and it doesn’t matter who we bring in in that role, we will still miss Rishabh. I am not going to try and gloss over that fact, he’s one of the best players in the world in all three formats and he’s obviously our leader. So, trying to replace him is pretty much impossible. But what we try to do at DC is make sure we have got the best young talent available and get to work on them for a couple of years and make them better and we have got a few of them now,” Ponting said.
Ponting went on to say that DC have the right players to fill in the middle order. Meanwhile, he added that they did not confirm a replacement for Pant yet.
“Sarfaraz Khan, Yash Dhull can easily slot into the middle-order. Lalit Yadav played some games last year and Aman Khan has been ultra impressive. Last couple of days’ training, he’s been very special. We have Rovman Powell, even Axar’s batting has improved a lot so we will try and find a cover for Rishabh. You are not going to get the same quality but we think we can have a middle-order as good as any other team,” he added.
Will have Pant’s number on our shirts or caps – Ricky Ponting
Ricky Ponting said that the Delhi Capitals are planning to print Rishabh Pant’s jersey number, 17, on their shirts or caps in a 2023 IPL match. He said that it will make the players understand that Pant is the most vital cog in the Delhi team and would have wanted him in the dugout in any role possible even if he is not able to play in the field.
“I have spoken to him quite a bit over the last four-five months. He has a long road back, but we want to try and involve him as much as we can. In an ideal world, he’d be sitting next to me in the dugout every match. But if that’s not possible, we’d like to think of little ways we might include him, have his number on our shirts or caps, just so the players understand he’s the heart and soul of DC and also for fans, to show how much he’s a part of us,” Ponting said.