‘I want him sitting beside me’

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Former Australian skipper and current head coach of Delhi Capitals Ricky Ponting wants Indian wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant in the dugout for the upcoming season IPL season. Pant, who is recovering from his knee surgeries following his terrifying car crash at the fag end of last year, is expected to miss the entirety of 2023. 

Ricky Ponting, who will have to make do without the services of his star skipper Rishabh Pant for the upcoming IPL season, wants the Indian cricketer next to him in the dugout. Ponting feels that Pant’s attitude and personality could galvanize the team. The Aussie revealed that he wants the southpaw in the Delhi camp for every day of the week if he is fit enough to travel.

“If he is 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 laughs he has is what we all love so much about him. 

“If he’s actually able to travel and be around the team, then I want him sitting beside me in the dugout every day of the week. 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,” Ponting said on The ICC Review Show.

We will keep our fingers crossed and hope that he can get back to playing soon: Ponting

The two-time World Cup-winning skipper revealed his admiration and love for the injured Indian cricketer who escaped fatal injuries in a car crash last month. The 25-year-old Indian batting sensation is slated to commence his rehabilitation and strengthening in the upcoming days following successful surgeries on his right knee.

“I absolutely love the bloke, I told him that on the phone the last couple of days. It was a horrifying time, a really scary time for everybody, let alone him. Anyone that knows him loves him – he’s a really infectious young guy that has the world at his feet still. So we will keep our fingers crossed and hope that he can get back to playing sooner rather than later,” Ponting said hoping for a quick recovery for the Capitals skipper.

Ponting reckoned it was really difficult to replace a player of Pant’s quality, but the franchise are looking at possible candidates to replace the injured cricketer.

“You can’t replace those guys, simple as that. 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, a wicketkeeper-batsman,” he added.

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