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IPL 2024: 'I had self-belief, whatever happens I need to be back on the ground', says Pant

IANS | April 01, 2024 11:46 AM

VISAKHAPTANAM: After enthralling everyone with a 32-ball 51 as Delhi Capitals (DC) beat defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by 20 runs, skipper Rishabh Pant said he always had the self-belief to return to the cricket field irrespective of whatever happened.

Sunday's game at Visakhapatnam was Pant’s third game in competitive cricket after recovering from a life-threatening car accident in December 2022. Promoting himself to number three, Pant was at 23 off 23 balls, before accelerating by making 28 runs in his next eight balls before holing out to long-off to make a fifty in the IPL after 465 days.

"See, as a cricketer I don't think about (feeling like being back), but at the same time I have to give my 100% each and every day. So what I did was I took my time initially because I haven't played much cricket in the last one-and-a-half to two years so I thought I have to give myself enough time.

"At the same time I kept believing that I could change the match at the end. I think I always had self-belief that whatever happens in life, I need to be back on the ground. That was the thought process and I never thought about anything else, " said Pant after the match.

Asked about how was the wait for him in returning to the field, Pant replied, "One-and-a-half years. Because every day I love to be on the field and this is something I have depended my life on. Yes, that one-and-a-half years was a wait but at the same time you've got to keep doing what you can as a cricketer and keep learning from it."

Opener Prithvi Shaw, playing his first game of the season, smashed a 27-ball 43, including four fours and two sixes. Pant was impressed with how he fared in DC’s first win of the season. "I think definitely he has been working hard from last two weeks and he put himself on the line all the way. And we thought that it's time to give him a chance and he flourished."

With the ball, Khaleel Ahmed bowled a brilliant spell of 2-21, including taking out Rachin Ravindra and Ruturaj Gaikwad. Fellow pacer Mukesh Kumar shined at the back-end of the innings by picking 3-21.

"I think bowlers have been very clinical. Yes, we talked about we can all learn from our mistakes and I can say that we have learned. "I think it will depend on match to match, but at the same time if Mukesh can bowl at the death it's very nice. The good thing was that he got injured but he still came back to the field and bowled that superb over, " concluded Pant.

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