IPL 2024: BCCI clears Rishabh Pant to play as wicketkeeper-batter

Rishabh Pant has been cleared to keep wickets for Delhi Capitals at IPL 2024 by the BCCI’s fitness and medical teams. Fast bowlers Mohammed Shami and Prasidh Krishna, though, have both been ruled out of the tournament.
There is, however, no update on KL Rahul, the designated Lucknow Super Giants captain. He hasn’t played since the first Test against England in January because of a quadricep tendon injury.

The BCCI also said that Prasidh, who had surgery on February 23 on his left proximal quadriceps tendon, is set to begin his recovery at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. For Shami, who recently underwent surgery for a heel issue, there is no return date set. The BCCI’s medical team is monitoring his progress.

The update on Pant came just a day after BCCI secretary Jay Shah had told the media that Pant was “batting well and keeping well,” and could be in contention for a place in India’s squad for the T20 World Cup in June.

“If he can play the T20 World Cup for us, that will be a big thing for us. He is a big asset for us,” Shah said. “If he can keep, he can play the World Cup. Let’s see how he does in the IPL.”

Pant, who last played senior cricket in December 2022, suffered a severe right knee injury that required a ligament reconstruction surgery, besides a fractured wrist and ankle in the car accident. Now with the BCCI’s green signal, Pant might return to action as early as March 23, when Delhi Capitals travel to Mohali to take on Punjab Kings in their opening fixture.

In February 2024, Pant began match-simulation exercises in Bengaluru, and even played a 20-over practice game in Alur, Karnataka, under the supervision of NCA physios and trainers. At the time, Pant was understood to have experienced no discomfort while batting for the entire 20 overs, and the people monitoring him were believed to have been satisfied with his endurance levels. Pant, however, didn’t keep wickets back then, and was advised to resume that aspect of his training in March.
Last month, Capitals co-owner Parth Jindal had announced Pant as the captain for IPL 2024 and said that Pant would play as a batter alone for the first half of the season. At the time, Jindal had said that “depending on how his body reacts, we will take a call for the rest of the IPL”.

No return date yet for Shami and Prasidh

Shami’s complete unavailability will have come as a big blow to Gujarat Titans, who will be led by Shubman Gill after Hardik Pandya returned to Mumbai Indians. Shami picked up 28 wickets in IPL 2023 and won the purple cap for Titans as they finished runners-up to Chennai Super Kings.

Shami’s last appearance was at the ODI World Cup final. Playing through pain during the tournament while taking injections to treat his ankle, Shami ended up with the most wickets at the World Cup.

In January 2024, Shami had said he aimed to return for the Test series against England, but was subsequently ruled out of the entire Test series as well as the IPL following ankle surgery in February. He is also unlikely to be fit for the T20 World Cup.
For Rajasthan Royals, it will be a second season without Prasidh. He missed out with injury in 2023 too. Prasidh picked up his latest injury during the Ranji Trophy season while representing Karnataka. He had played an important role in IPL 2022 for the Royals, with his 19 wickets in 17 games a key factor in the team’s run to the final that year.

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