T20 WC: After 17 months, Pant back at Team India nets

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | May 30, 2024 IST

Rishabh Pant

New York, May 30: Wicket-keeper batter Rishabh Pant is back at Indian nets. After a fatal car accident in 2022 his return to cricket has been a fairy tale journey.

Rishabh is a match winner. He can destroy any world-class bowling line-up, if he gets going. He has improved his wicket-keeping skills much better than what it was in his early days of career.

He was firing on all cylinders and was a certainty in India's scheme of things for ODI World Cup 2023. But then, the tragic car accident in 2022 derailed his life for almost two years.

Being a fighter, Rishabh fought back brilliantly. Stunning everyone, he was back on cricket field again. 

In Indian Premier League 2024,  Rishabh appeared to be in his old self. He was busy leading Delhi Capitals, mesmerising fans with his excellent gloves work behind the stumps and sending the cricket ball out of the boundary regularly as a fearsome middle-order batter.

That is the diminutive powerhouse Rishabh Pant we know for years. Rishabh's accident was one of the most tragic incidents in recent Indian cricketing history with doubts floating around on whether he will ever be able to play cricket again.

Rishabh attended his first net session with the team in New York ahead of the T20 World Cup warm-up match against Bangladesh on June 1.

He has returned to the Indian team after nearly 17 months for the showpiece event. He made his return to competitive cricket in April in the Indian Premier League and also led his side Delhi Capitals. He not only played the full season but also kept wickets after recovering from multiple injuries sustained in a horrific car crash. 

In the IPL, he scored 446 runs including three half-centuries, and finished as the highest run-getter for the franchise. He batted at a strike rate of 155.40 in the middle order.

Commenting on his return to the Indian squad, the 26-year-old said he missed his teammates during his rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and is enjoying being back with the team.

"This is one thing I missed a lot. Getting back on the field with the Indian jersey on, it is a different feel altogether and this is something I missed a lot. I think seeing the teammates and meeting them again, spending time, having fun with them, enjoying having conversations, really enjoying it," Pant said in a video posted by BCCI on X.

"We are used to playing in certain countries but this is a different prospect. It has opened up a different channel for sport because I feel cricket is growing around the world and getting in a country like the US and getting the exposure here would be nice for cricket as well as USA cricket I guess," he added.

Rishabh further said he is getting used to the conditions and the sun shines a little brighter here in the US and there are new pitches.

"So just getting used to conditions over here and let us see how it goes. Hopefully, I make it count and make it better from here," he concluded.

India will take on Ireland in their T20 World Cup opening match in New York on June 5 before the high-octane clash against arch-rivals Pakistan on June 9.

Cricket fans in India and across the world would love to see Rishabh Pant in action in the global cricket event later this year. The reason is simple. Rishabh has nearly beaten death to play cricket again. He almost did the impossible to be where he loves to be and do whatever he loves most. That is, to play his favourite sports in front of house full cricket fans in a cricket stadium. 

Who knows, if things go in Rishabh's way, then India might return home with the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024. That will definitely be a fitting tribute to Rishabh's unbelievable fighting spirits. (With IANS support)

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