Rishabh Pant declared fit for IPL 2024 after recovering from horror accident

Wicketkeeper batsman returns at Delhi Capitals following serious car crash in 2022

India wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant is fit to play in the IPL starting this month after being seriously hurt in a car crash in 2022. AFP
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Indian cricket fans are all set to welcome Rishabh Pant back to the field after the dynamic wicketkeeper-batsman was declared fully fit by the cricket board on Tuesday.

Pant was involved in a near-fatal car crash in December 2022 that required him to undergo multiple surgeries and kept him out of the ODI World Cup on home soil last year.

“After undergoing an extensive 14-month rehab and recovery process, following a life-threatening road mishap, Rishabh Pant has now been declared fully fit as a wicketkeeper batter for the upcoming IPL,” the BCCI said in a statement.

Following the announcement, the 26-year-old posted a picture on Instagram with the caption: “Keep smiling.”

Pant was returning to New Delhi from his hometown Roorkee, a few hours north of the Indian capital, before dawn when his SUV crashed into a road divider and caught fire.

He was taken to hospital before being airlifted to Mumbai for further treatment and surgery.

Pant has been on an intensive rehabilitation programme since surviving the crash with a damaged ligament in his right knee, injured wrist and ankle, and abrasions to his back.

He was replaced as captain of Delhi Capitals by David Warner last year in the IPL.

In his absence, India reached the final of the World Cup last year and also completed a 4-1 Test series win over England earlier this month despite missing a number of other key players, including prolific batter Virat Kohli.

But with Pant regaining fitness, the path has been cleared for his return to all formats of the Indian team and also at the helm of Delhi Capitals.

However, he is expected to find some competition as young keeper Dhruv Jurel and star batter KL Rahul have put up commendable performance in front of and behind the stumps for India.

His return to the IPL, though, comes at an opportune moment as a good season there would cement Pant's spot in the Indian team for the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and the US that begins right after the T20 league.

Whatever happens, cricket fans will be happy to see Pant back on the field as a keeper and batsman, even though it is likely to take some time to reach his best.

Before the IPL player auction last December, Pant spoke about the challenges he faced during the recovery period.

“The kind of accident I had, I'm lucky to be alive,” he said. “I think it was very challenging, especially the first part I would say more from a physical point of view. There was a lot of pain to be endured.”

The IPL begins on March 22, with defending champions Chennai Super Kings taking on Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening clash.

Meanwhile, fast bowlers Mohammad Shami and Prasidh Krishna were ruled out of IPL 2024 due to injury. Shami recently underwent surgery on his heel and has been sidelined for an indefinite period.

Fellow pacer Krishna had surgery recently on his quadriceps tendon and is likely to begin his recovery at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.

Updated: March 12, 2024, 12:21 PM