IPL 2024: Rishabh Pant all set to play for DC after obtaining fitness certificate from NCA!

New Delhi: Rishabh Pant is all set to make his long-awaited return to competitive cricket for the Delhi Capitals (DC) in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) after obtaining the fitness certificate from the National Cricket Academy (NCA). Sources tracking the development have told IANS that Pant, who has been undergoing extensive rehabilitation at the NCA in Bengaluru since April last year, got his fitness clearance and left the NCA two to three days ago.

The IPL 2024 season will mark Pant’s return to competitive cricket action since the two-match Test series in Bangladesh ended in December 2022. A couple of days after the series ended, Pant miraculously survived a near-fatal car crash while on the way to his hometown Roorkee on December 30, 2022. He was initially taken to Saksham Hospital Multispecialty and Trauma Centre, before being shifted to Max Hospital, Dehradun. On January 4, 2023, Pant was airlifted to Mumbai for surgery and further recovery at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Andheri West, Mumbai.

Pant was operated upon for his right knee ligament injuries by Dr. Dinshaw Pardiwala, the head of the Centre for Sports Medicine, and Director of Arthroscopy & Shoulder Service, who also serves on the medical committee of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Since then, Pant has been on an extensive road to recovery which included hydrotherapy and physiotherapy sessions initially to become crutches-free in May. In April, he was also seen attending DC’s match against Gujarat Titans at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi.

At the NCA, he was made to walk on soil and grass, climb the stairs, run on an anti-gravity treadmill, and go through a tailormade regime with an eye on regaining strength and flexibility as part of his recovery routine. Physio Thulasi Ram Yuvaraj, as well as strength & conditioning coach Rajnikanth Sivagnanam, were associated with Pant in his rehab and recovery journey at the NCA.

In July 2023, Pant commenced batting and keeping practice as part of his return to play routine, while also making an appearance on DC’s auction table at the IPL 2024 Player Auction in Dubai last year.

The left-handed wicketkeeper-batter, also DC’s designated captain in the IPL, was also seen participating in the various 20-over match stimulations conducted at the NCA of late, alongside Hardik Pandya, as part of testing his readiness for playing competitive cricket matches.

IANS also understands that Delhi Capitals, after conducting a mini camp for its Indian playing contingent at the Arun Jaitley Stadium for five days which began on February 29, are going to assemble in Visakhapatnam in a few days’ time.

The Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam is the venue for DC’s first two home games due to the Arun Jaitley Stadium needing time for preparation for the IPL 2024 games, after hosting the second half of WPL 2024, ending on March 17.

This agency also understands that the scope of Pant’s role in the playing eleven will be assessed by the team management in Visakhapatnam, with head coach Ricky Ponting, director of cricket Sourav Ganguly and physio Patrick Farhart looming as key decision makers in this regard.

Delhi Capitals, who finished in ninth place in IPL 2023 in Pant’s absence, will open their IPL 2024 campaign by taking on Punjab Kings in an afternoon match on March 23 at the newly-developed Maharaja Yadavindra Singh Stadium in Mullanpur, Mohali.

Also Read: Rahul Dravid Inspires India With Motivational Dressing Room Speech After Win Against England


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