“Don’t want to stay away from the ground”: Rishabh Pant reflects on comeback season

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Delhi Capitals (DC) beat Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) by 19 runs on Tuesday to theoretically stay alive in this year’s IPL. Practically, however, with 14 points from as many matches and a net run rate of -0.377, their season is over.

And yet, DC can count on some positives and Rishabh Pant’s comeback is the biggest of them. Returning to competitive cricket after almost a year andahalf, nobody knew how Pant’s body would react. For someone who suffered a horror car accident and then spent almost a year at the National Cricket Academy doing rehab, it was not easy to go through the rigours of back-to-back matches and constant travel.

Not only did Pant pass the test, he also ended up as DC’s highest run-scorer, with 446 runs from 13 matches at a strike-rate of 155.40. A season that spoke volumes for Pant’s resolve also saw him return to the India fold for the upcoming T20 World Cup.

As the curtain all but fell on DC’s campaign, their captain reflected on the season. “Personally, it was fantastic to come back on the field,”Pant told the host broadcasters after the game on Tuesday. “The kind of support I got from whole India was heartening to see. Wherever I went to play, I got support from each and every person. That was really good to see.”

Pant said once he was back, he never wanted to stay away from the field. “Everyone knew that I was playing after oneandahalf years. 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.”

DC suffered several injury blows this season. To start with, they lost Harry Brook and Lungi Ngidi for the entire season. Then, Mitchell Marsh picked up a hamstring injury and flew back home. Ace spinner Kuldeep Yadav, too, missed a number of games due to injuries. Pant, though, didn’t offer any excuse.

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

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