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'Want to stay on the field all the time' - Rishabh Pant on his comeback season

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Published in Cricket
Tuesday, 14 May 2024 12:25
Rishabh Pant radiated a sense of gratitude after Delhi Capitals' last league game of IPL 2024. Having played for the first time since his life-threatening accident in December 2022, Pant eased into the rigours of top-flight cricket without major physical discomfort and finished the league phase as DC's highest run-scorer with 446 runs in 13 games at a strike rate of 155.40. Along the way he earned a place in India's squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
"I think personally it was fantastic to come back on the field. The kind of support I got from whole India I would say was heartening to see," Pant told the broadcasters after DC's 19-run win over Lucknow Super Giants. "Wherever I went to play, I got support from each and every person. That was really good to see.

"Everyone knew that I am playing after one-and-a-half years so 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."

Pant also touched upon the problems DC faced through their season, many of them out of the team's control. Harry Brook and Lungi Ngidi were unavailable through the season, Ishant Sharma, Mitchell Marsh and Kuldeep Yadav missed a number of games with injuries, and Pant himself copped an over-rate suspension, missing DC's penultimate game. That they stayed in contention for the playoffs until their last game was satisfying, Pant said.

"I think, I would say we started the season with a lot of hope," he said. "But we had a few injuries here and there, few ups and downs, illnesses, but as a franchise you can't complain all the time. You've got to make the best use of whatever you have in your hand.

"I think we were very close, as you can see till the last game we are in close contention for the playoffs. You know there are some things you can control, and some things you can't. You know last match what happened, I couldn't play. I'm not saying that if I had played we would have definitely [won] but we would have had a better chance of qualifying I guess."

Rahul: LSG's powerplay batting biggest disappointment

After a third straight defeat that all but confirmed LSG's elimination from playoffs contention, their captain KL Rahul said they should have chased down their target of 209 in batting-friendly conditions in Delhi. He felt the loss of early wickets, an issue that has plagued LSG all season, hurt them once again.
"This has been the problem for us through the season, that we keep losing a lot of wickets in the powerplay," Rahul said. "We've never been able to get off to a really solid start to bring in players like [Marcus] Stoinis and [Nicholas] Pooran into the game, and get them to walk in at the 7th or 8th over mark with a solid start. That's probably one of the big reasons we find ourselves in this position.

"I feel the wicket remained pretty similar through the 40 overs. When we got Jake [Fraser-McGurk] out in the first over, I thought we started off really well and we should have capitalised from there. But that's how the season has been, where the players keep coming [at the bowling] even if wickets keep going. They showed a lot of intent, Shai Hope and Abishek Porel. They took the momentum away from us. We did well in the back end, and 200 [208] was a par score. We should have chased it down."

Seventh-placed LSG's final game of the season is against Mumbai Indians on Friday. Their net run-rate of -0.787 means their chances of qualifying are mostly just mathematical.

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