IPL: 'The first feeling is I am happy that I am alive', says Pant on returning to lead Delhi Capitals

New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) Rishabh Pant, who is returning to action after 14 months of being on a recovery route from multiple injuries suffered in a near-fatal car crash, has expressed his sentiments on his much-awaited return, saying he is happy that “he is alive” and want to enjoy the moment.

Pant, who is back as the captain of Delhi Capitals, underwent an extensive rehabilitation and recovery process at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru following a road accident in December 2022.

Speaking on how it feels like to come back to the game after the car accident, Pant recalled the days when used to walk with crutches and added that he can’t describe the feeling when he first held a bat after his accident.

“The bigger picture was that I had been walking using crutches, then I didn’t need them. Then I began walking, then began jogging and then running. Then batting and then wicketkeeping. I don’t remember those particular dates, but definitely remember the moments,” Pant said on JioCinema.

“I can’t describe the feeling when I first held a bat post the accident. It was amazing. You get mesmerised because of something. The feeling was like that. I didn’t feel that I was playing for the first time, but it also didn’t feel like I had played before. There was a different sort of energy and feeling,” he added.

Asked if he feels any pressure returning to DC, the wicketkeeper-batter said, ” The first feeling is I am happy that I am alive. If you are not alive, how can you even think of anything else. So, it’s important to go with the flow and enjoy these moments.”

He further revealed how he coped with the injuries and admitted that there was frustration and anger but he started focussing more on the journey instead of thinking about the destination.

“When the journey is so long, you do get frustrated. With us, we are always looking for the destination. You should enjoy the journey. When you go out to practice, then how does the bat feel in your hand, while keeping, how does it feel to have the ball in your gloves. If we start enjoying these things, then you are surrounded by positivity,” said Pant.

Pant also recalled the moments when he came to know that DC had spent Rs 1.9 crore on him at the 2016 auction.

“There was nervousness about the auction as we were playing the U-19 World Cup. We used to keep bantering about the auction. Sarfaraz (Khan) went out of the field during the drinks break and when he returned, he informed me that I was picked for Rs 1.9 crore. I told him these kinds of jokes won’t work. But when we came back and I got to know, it was a really nice feeling,” he said.

Further speaking on his relationship with MS Dhoni, Pant said he learnt that transfer of energy is important and one can’t build that connection over phone.

“I am learning from him that one-on-one interactions are different from those on the phone. The transfer of energy is more important. You can’t build that connection on the phone.”

Delhi will open its IPL 2024 campaign on March 23 against Punjab Kings, which will be Pant’s first assignment in 14 months. “I am nervous, I am excited. It’s a mixed feeling. So, I don’t want my mind to start straying in too many directions. I want to keep it simple,” he added.



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