‘Players Like Him Don’t Grow in Trees’: Ponting Wants to Have Pant in DC Dugout Even if He’s Not Fit to Play

Last Updated: January 20, 2023, 5:00 PM IST

Rishabh Pant with Ricky Ponting

DC head coach Ricky Ponting wants Rishabh to be with him in the dugout during the tournament even if the wicketkeeper-batter isn’t fit to play

Wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant is expected to remain away from the action for several months as he is recovering from injuries suffered during a gruesome car accident. The youngster was on his way to Roorkee when his luxury car met with an accident. He was then rushed to a hospital from where he was referred to Max Hospital in Dehradun. Later, he was airlifted to Mumbai where he successfully underwent three surgeries after tearing all three key ligaments in his knee.

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As Rishabh is on road to recovery, he is set to miss the next two big tournaments – the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and the Indian Premier League. While the BCCI has named the likes of KS Bharat and Ishan Kishan for the first two Tests, the Delhi Capitals is yet to announce their stand-in skipper for the season.

However, DC head coach Ricky Ponting wants Rishabh to be with him in the dugout during the tournament.

“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,” Ponting said on The ICC Review Show.

“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,” he added.

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Pointing revealed that he spoke with Rishabh on phone and wished him a speedy recovery.

“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 added.

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