Kapil Dev believes there are similarities in the way he and Rishabh Pant were handed the captaincy role at a young age. The 23-year-old Pant is set to lead the Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021 since Shreyas Iyer has been ruled out of the tournament due to a shoulder injury.
Kapil Dev was also 23 when he was handed the task of leading a young Indian side. By 24, he had become the country's first World Cup-winning captain.
Speaking about Rishabh Pant's appointment as the skipper of the Delhi Capitals, the former all-rounder claimed that the senior players would have to guide the young wicket-keeper-batsman in the middle.
"If senior players support him, then it won't be that difficult for him. I had a similar experience of becoming a captain at such a young age. Ricky Ponting (DC head coach) can control the game only in the dressing room. Once the team is out on the ground, it's the captain's thought process that matters more. And experienced players like Rahane and Dhawan will have to support the young captain. Sometimes the support is missing, and we have to wait for the first few matches to get there,” Kapil Dev said on ABP News.
The Delhi Capitals had more experienced alternatives in the form of Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Steve Smith - all of whom have led IPL teams before. However, the franchise decided to take a punt on Rishabh Pant, following his meteoric rise in international cricket over the last few months.
Kapil Dev talks about Rishabh Pant's chances of leading DC to the IPL title
Kapil Dev acknowledged that it would be a difficult task for Rishabh Pant to carry Delhi all the way to the title in his first season as IPL captain.
"Yes, there maybe 25-26% chances (of Rishabh Pant winning the IPL for DC). I don't think anything more than that because then you're saying he's better than the other teams (captains). He's a new captain; he needs a lot of experience. But it's a bit difficult to go all the way (in his first attempt as captain),” the former all-rounder added.
The former India captain is eager to see how a young Pant guides a team full of experienced players.
"We should focus on how he handles the team. It's not an easy task with so many senior players. A small section of people can blame him if DC don't perform. As the time passes, I hope he comes out with flying colours,” Kapil Dev concluded.
The Delhi-based franchise will be keen to go one step further this season after finishing as runners-up in IPL 2020. The Capitals will play their opening IPL 2021 encounter against the Chennai Super Kings on April 10.