Maverick Team India wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has never been considered captaincy material as such. After all, he has only just begun to find his range as an international cricketer.
Iyer hurt his shoulder badly while fielding in the first ODI against England in Pune. Delhi Capitals chairman Parth Jindal tweeted that he was "absolutely devastated" for Iyer and also wished him a speedy recovery.
Meanwhile, sources have been quoted as saying in media reports that DC promoters Kiran Kumar Gandhi and Jindal, in consultation with coach Ricky Ponting, will take the final call on the new captain soon.
Rishabh Pant as DC captain?
If Rishabh Pant indeed gets the leadership role at DC, it would be the correct move under the current circumstances. Here are three reasons why we think so:
#1 There cannot be a better time
If ever there was a good time to put Rishabh Pant on of the IPL 2021 captains list, this is it. His confidence is at an all-time high and his performances are making legends take note of his serious talent.
Over the last four months, Rishabh Pant has elevated his game to a completely different level, first as a batsman and then as a keeper.
It all began in Australia with that hundred in a practice game. Then, in the Sydney Test, he nearly pulled off a miraculous win for India. What he fell short of achieving at the SCG, he fulfilled through a spectacular knock at the Gabba, as India created history.
When Rishabh Pant left for Australia, he was almost an afterthought in the team. By the time he returned, he was the nation's latest cricketing heartthrob. Such was his influence on the series triumph Down Under.
Even so, detractors pointed to his poor keeping skills behind the stumps. Some even recommended that Rishabh Pant should be the Indian wicketkeeper only for overseas conditions.
The 23-year-old, however, displayed amazing improvement in his glovework in the home Tests against England. He was able to pull off tough catches and stumpings against the spinning ball.
This again was a reflection of the new-found confidence in Rishabh Pant, the ever-improving cricketer. He continued to excel as a batsman against England. His hundred in Ahmedabad was just a reiteration of how brilliant he can be on his day.
#2 Aggressive mindset and positive approach
Shreyas Iyer has done an incredible job as leader of the Delhi Capitals over the last two seasons. His loss is undoubtedly a big blow to the franchise.
However, with his positive thinking and aggressive mindset, Rishabh Pant can play a role in reducing the damage that will be caused by Iyer’s absence.
While the left-handed batsman is known as a naturally aggressive stroke-maker, his performances of late have had a combination of daredevilry and smart shot selection. It is not as if he has blindly gone after the bowling.
If one observes his success mantra in recent matches, it can be concluded that he is an aggressive batsman with a shrewd brain. But that hasn’t been a hindrance in his game play.
He has remained as positive and attacking as ever. Unlike the Rishabh Pant of old, though, this has been a refined version.
The Delhi Capitals have in the past seemed to carry the baggage of poor performances into the new season. While Rishabh Pant has been a part of a couple of unsuccessful DC campaigns as well, he doesn’t seem to get bogged down by failure.
A team needs a leader who remains fresh and affirmative even in the wake of setbacks. Rishabh Pant seems to possess these qualities.
#3 Always on his toes
Until a year ago, Rishabh Pant was playing crazy strokes and getting out in ridiculous ways. One wouldn’t have associated the term "thinking cricketer" with him. But times have certainly changed, and rather drastically.
With success, Rishabh Pant has also found his voice behind the stumps. And not just to sledge. He keeps sharing his tips with bowlers regarding what he observes about the batsman, from behind the stumps.
Of course, not all of his suggestions prove handy. Quite a few misfire, as has been evident during the ongoing limited-overs matches against England. He also has some serious work to do with regards to helping captain Virat Kohli with DRS calls.
The point though is that Rishabh Pant will never die wondering. He will keep trying stuff and experimenting till the very end. And that will only augment Delhi Capitals’ chances of doing well.
If Rishabh Pant’s brain ticks the right way and the IPL results start going in DC’s favor, he will definitely put his name in the race for future India captain.
Rishabh Pant’s IPL record
Matches: 68, Runs: 2079, Average: 35.23, Strike rate: 151.97, Highest score: 128