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Pant: ‘Whatever happens, I had to be back on the ground’

1xC Team


After a short cameo in his first game back after a life-threatening car accident in December 2022 and a laboured 28 in his second, Rishabh Pant blazed a 32-ball 51 as Delhi Capitals brought up their first win of the season against Chennai Super Kings.

He was 23 off 23 at one point, but hit his next eight balls for 28 runs before slicing a skier to long-off.

“See, as a cricketer I don’t think about [feeling like being back], but at the same time I have to give my 100% each and every day,” Pant said at the post-match presentation ceremony. “So what I did was I took my time initially because I haven’t played much cricket in the last one-and-a-half to two years so I thought I have to give myself enough time.

“At the same time I kept believing that I could change the match at the end.”

Then he was asked how long he had waited to be back on the field.

“One-and-a-half years,” Pant said. “Because every day I love to be on the field and this is something I have depended my life on.

“Yes, that one-and-a-half years was a wait but at the same time you’ve got to keep doing what you can as a cricketer and keep learning from it.”

Pant said he never worried about not being able to play cricket again.

“I think I always had self-belief that whatever happens in life, I need to be back on the ground,” he said. “That was the thought process and I never thought about anything else.”

‘Shaw put himself on the line all the way’

Opener Prithvi Shaw made his first appearance of the season, after being overlooked for Capitals’ first two games. He marked it with a 27-ball 43 that included two sixes and four fours.

“I think definitely he has been working hard from last two weeks and he put himself on the line all the way,” Pant said about Shaw. “And we thought that it’s time to give him a chance and he flourished today.”

Pant was also all praise for a “clinical” bowling display.

Khaleel Ahmed gave Capitals the perfect start with the ball, removing Ruturaj Gaikwad and Rachin Ravindra in his first spell of three overs and giving away just nine runs.

That set the tone for an impressive bowling show that meant that even after MS Dhoni clobbered Anrich Nortje for 20 runs in the final over, Capitals won by as many runs.

“I think bowlers have been very clinical today. Yes, we talked about we can all learn from our mistakes and I can say that we have learned,” Pant said.

A 68-run stand between Ajinkya Rahane and Daryl Mitchell threatened to swing the momentum CSK’s way, but Axar Patel took a sharp return catch to break the stand in the 11th over. Mukesh Kumar was introduced in the 14th and he derailed the chase with back-to-back wickets of Rahane and Sameer Rizvi.

Mukesh finished with three wickets, and he could have had a fourth but Khaleel shelled a chance to give Dhoni a reprieve off his second ball.

“I think it will depend on match to match, but at the same time if Mukesh can bowl at the death it’s very nice,” Pant said about Mukesh’s role in the team. “The good thing about today is that he got injured but he still came back to the field and bowled that superb over.”



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