In a big statement ahead of the Indian Premier League 2023, Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting has said that even if Rishabh Pant fails to recover in time for the tournament, he want want him sitting beside him in the dugout. Ponting’s statement comes after the franchise’s Head of Cricket Operations Sourav Ganguly has already confirmed that the wicketkeeper-batter won’t be able to play this’s year IPL after sustaining serious injuries in a road accident in December.

Ponting said that the hours immediately after Pant’s accident were very scary for him and for all those who love him. Showering praise on the 25-year-old, the former Australia captain said that there is simply no replacement for a player like Pant as they don’t grow on trees.

I absolutely love the bloke: Ponting

Ponting revealed that he has spoken to Pant over the phone.

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“I absolutely love the bloke, I told him that on the phone the last couple of days,” Ponting told The ICC Review.

“It was a horrifying time, a really scary time for everybody, let alone him. Anyone that knows him loves him – he’s a really infectious young guy that has the world at his feet still.

“So we will keep our fingers crossed and hope that he can get back to playing sooner rather than later,” he added.

“You can’t replace those guys, simple as that,” Ponting said.

“They don’t grow on trees, players like that. We’ve got to look at – and we already are – a replacement to come into the squad, a wicketkeeper-batsman.”

“I want him sitting beside me in the dugout every day of the week,” the 48-year-old said.

Pant dozed off while driving: Report

Notably, Pant was driving from Delhi to Roorkee to surprise his mother for New Year when he reportedly dozed off and lost control of his vehicle. He was pulled out of the car just seconds before the vehicle caught fire. The Haryana Roadways bus driver and conductor who saved Pant’s life will now receive the central government’s Good Samaritan award.

Meanwhile, Pant was initially treated in Uttarakhand before being airlifted to Mumbai. He is expected to be discharged from hospital in a couple of weeks.

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