One man’s loss is another man’s gain.
This saying best fits the situation at the Delhi Capitals camp at the moment as they are all set to be led by a young captain in this year’s IPL.
The franchise has tasked Rishabh Pant, 23, with the responsibility of heading the side after Shreyas Iyer was sidelined for the entire tournament due to a shoulder injury.
The right-handed batsman was injured during the first England-India ODI that India won by 66 runs.
Pant has been India’s go-to guy in the white-ball series for the past few months, not to forget his heroics with the bat in the Australia tour as well.
The 23-year-old won the Gabba Test for the visitors single-handedly to help India clinch the Border-Gavaskar series.
Coupled with decent outings against England at home, the young sensation has been trusted by his franchise to do well in the coming IPL and continue to pile up big totals with his free-flowing batting.
But gauging Pant’s ability to lead the team by his age would be unfair.
While this instance makes him the fifth-youngest player in the IPL’s history, this is not the first time the left-handed star will be skipper, in his professional career.
Back in 2017, a 19-year-old Pant took over the captaincy of Delhi from veteran Gautam Gambhir, in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Delhi coach Bhaskar Pillai had said that team selectors had chosen Pant for the job to groom him as a future leader.
This past experience has definitely been a consideration when the current DC management decided to make him captain.
Is Pant the perfect choice?
Shikhar Dhawan could have been a decent candidate for the job as well, but any avid follower of Indian cricket knows that the country is a big believer in preparing future leaders.
Investing in youth seems to be the new mantra.
With a 35-year-old Dhawan leading the side, Delhi Capitals might have replicated their good run from last season.
However, that will not benefit their long-term plans much since the veteran is not in contention to lead either the Indian team or a franchise in the near future.
This makes Pant a candidate with the best shot as someone who keeps the wicket, views the field from the best position in the field, and has also, rubbed shoulder with MS Dhoni during international duties.
Moreover, twenty-over cricket is often regarded as a young man’s game since it has sped up the sport itself.
With an energetic keeper who has been enjoying international exposure since 2016 as an India U-19 player, Pant seems like a good choice.
The Pant-Ponting bond
Rishabh Pant and Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting share a great bond that has been evident in the dugout for the past few seasons.
The Australian batting great has hailed Pant’s mindset when it comes to being a skipper.
In his first interview since joining the Capitals’ camp, the cricket legend said that Pant will thrive under the extra pressure.
He was of the view that the important thing is to bombard the 23-year-old with team plans and information as the tournament kicks off on April 9.
Ponting affirmed that senior players like Ishant Sharma, Dhawan, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Ajinkya Rahane will also assist Pant in the IPL games.
This is because, Ponting believes that Pant will need a little support now and then in the season despite possessing a strong mindset.
Whether Ponting and the DC management is right, will be proved on the field on April 10 when Delhi will play their first game against MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium.