The IPL is just around the corner and Delhi Capitals have named Rishabh Pant as their new captain. The announcement came in the wake of Shreyas Iyer being ruled out of the tournament with a shoulder injury. Iyer suffered the injury in the recent ODI series against England.
The Delhi Capitals had a couple of successful seasons under the leadership of Shreyas Iyer. They notably made it into the playoffs in IPL 2019 and reached the final of IPL 2020 in the UAE.
When asked about the decision on Rishabh Pant being named captain, Shreyas Iyer was all praises for Rishabh Pant.
"When I sustained the shoulder injury, and Delhi Capitals needed a leader for this edition of the IPL, I had no doubt that Rishabh would be the best man for the job. He has all my good wishes to make amazing things happen with our absolutely incredible team. I’m going to miss the team tremendously, and will be cheering for them throughout,” Shreyas Iyer said about Rishabh Pant becoming DC captain.
Rishabh Pant has been an integral part of his Delhi Capitals set-up since 2016, and his dazzling performances have lit up the IPL over the years. The southpaw has played 68 games for the Delhi Capitals so far, aggregating 2,000 plus runs at an average of 35.23 and a strike rate of 151.97.
Even though he doesn't have prior experience as a captain, it must be noted that he was the vice-captain in the 2020 season.
Delhi Capitals coach and former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has been a huge admirer of Rishabh Pant since 2018. Here's what Ponting had to say about the dazzling batsman being handed this opportunity.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for young Rishabh, who is coming off successful stints against Australia and England, which will no doubt give him the confidence needed to take on a new role that comes with a lot more responsibility. The coaching group is excited to work with him, and we can’t wait for the season to get started,” said Ricky Ponting.
"It's a dream come true" - Rishabh Pant reacts to being named Delhi Capitals captain.
While it's no surprise that comparisons to MS Dhoni sprung up soon after the announcement, Pant is well aware that he has a long way to go if he wants to emulate the career of the former Indian skipper. Here's what Pant had to say after being named captain.
"Delhi is where I grew up, and where my IPL journey began six years ago. To lead this team one day is a dream I've always harboured. And today, as that dream comes true, I feel humbled. I am truly grateful, especially to our team owners, who considered me capable enough for this role. With an amazing coaching staff and a plethora of accomplished seniors around me, I can't wait to give my absolute best for Delhi Capitals."
While this decision came as a surprise to some, it's a step in the right direction for the youngster at this stage in his career. With experienced players like Steve Smith, Ajinkya Rahane and Ravichandran Ashwin present in the side, the Delhi Capitals were certainly not short of options for the captain's role.
The Delhi Capitals' management has gone with a bolder choice by naming Rishabh Pant as captain. Prithvi Shaw, who has been leading his domestic side and has led India in the U-19 World Cup, would've been another smart choice. However, Pant offers dynamism like no other.
While there are worries that the captaincy might affect his batting, the added responsibility might just be the tonic the youngster needs to get to the next level. It'll be interesting to see how Pant's batting translates into his captaincy, rather than the other way around.
The Delhi Capitals will play their first game against the Chennai Super Kings on 10th April in Mumbai. On the back of a successful stint for his national side, it'll be interesting to see what the future holds for Pant.
It remains to be seen if the youngster can lead Delhi to their elusive first IPL title, but with if Rishabh Pant's captaincy is anything like his batting, the Delhi Capitals fans should strap themselves in for an entertaining couple of months.