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“I just don’t want to stay away from the ground”: Rishabh Pant on comeback season

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Rishabh Pant on his comeback season

Rishabh Pant expressed gratitude after playing his final league game of the Indian Premier League 2024 season. He played his first competitive fixture since a life-threatening incident in December 2022. He finished the league stage as Delhi Capitals’ highest run scorer with 446 runs from 13 matches at a strike rate of 155.40. He is even part of the India’s T20 World Cup 2024 squad.

“I think personally it was fantastic to come back on the field. The kind of support I got from whole India I would say was heartening to see,” Pant said after DC’s 19-run win over Lucknow Super Giants. “Wherever I went to play, I got support from every person. That was good to see.

“Everyone knew that I was playing after one-and-a-half years so it was a long time to wait outside the ground. Loved every bit of it, just coming onto the ground, I just don’t want to stay away from the ground, want to stay on the field all the time.”

Rishabh Pant also stressed the problems DC faced throughout the season, many of them out of their control. Harry Brook and Lungi Ngidi were unavailable throughout, Ishant Sharma, Mitchell Marsh and Kuldeep Yadav missed games with injuries, and Pant himself copped an over-rate suspension, missing DC’s penultimate match against RCB.

The fact that they stayed in contention for the IPL playoffs until the last game was satisfying, Pant said.

“I think, I would say we started the season with a lot of hope,” he said. “But we had a few injuries here and there, few ups and downs, illnesses, but as a franchise you can’t complain all the time. You’ve got to make the best use of whatever you have in your hand.

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“I think we were very close, as you can see till the last game we are in close contention for the playoffs. You know there are some things you can control, and some things you can’t. You know last match what happened, I couldn’t play. I’m not saying that if I had played we would have definitely [won] but we would have had a better chance of qualifying I guess.”

Not only did DC lose the game against RCB on Sunday, but the 47-run defeat also impacted their net run rate and now they have to sit and wait for the others to find out if they have qualified.

A third straight defeat has all but condemned LSG to miss out on IPL playoffs. LSG skipper KL Rahul said that the loss of wickets in the powerplay throughout the season has prevented LSG from utilising big hitters like Marcus Stoinis and Nicholas Pooran. It was the case again as LSG failed to chase down the 209-run target in batter-friendly conditions in Delhi.

“This has been the problem for us through the season, that we keep losing a lot of wickets in the powerplay,” Rahul said. “We’ve never been able to get off to a really solid start to bring in players like [Marcus] Stoinis and [Nicholas] Pooran into the game and get them to walk in at the 7th or 8th over the mark with a solid start. That’s probably one of the big reasons we find ourselves in this position.

“I feel the wicket remained pretty similar through the 40 overs. When we got Jake [Fraser-McGurk] out in the first over, I thought we started off well and we should have capitalised from there. But that’s how the season has been, where the players keep coming [at the bowling] even if wickets keep going. They showed a lot of intent, Shai Hope and Abishek Porel. They took the momentum away from us. We did well in the back end, and 200 [208] was a par score. We should have chased it down.”

 

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