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'You are not a human being if you aren't impressed by Pant'

April 01, 2024 18:06 IST
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IMAGE: Delhi Capitals Captain Rishabh Pant struck a half-century against the Chennai Super Kings on Sunday, March 31, 2024. Photograph: BCCI

If Rishabh Pant's journey from a near death car accident to hitting one handed sixes in a space of 15 months does not inspire someone, then they are probably 'not true human beings', feels former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson.

The 26-year-old Pant returned to competitive cricket this IPL season, after recovering from a horrifying car crash in December 2022. The flamboyant batter had suffered multiple injuries, which required major knee surgery and extensive rehabilitation.

After two scratchy innings in the opening two games, Pant gave a glimpse of his devastating best as he hammered four boundaries and three maximums, including his trademark hand-off-the-bat six, to notch his maiden fifty of the season.

His 51-run knock (51 runs from 32 balls at a strike rate of 159.38) helped Delhi Capitals register a 20 run win, their maiden victory of the season, over defending champions Chennai Super Kings in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.

'It's inspirational, no question about it. To think that Rishabh had the ability to do this tonight, after the injuries that he sustained is unbelievable,' Watson said on JioCinema.

'You're not a true human being if you're not inspired by Rishabh Pant, the way he was able to come out and turn it on like that. It took him a little while to find his feet, but once he let those shackles off, he played some 'Rishabh Pant' shots, and they were extraordinary.

'It really was something special. I thought it might take him a few games, if not towards the backend of the IPL, to be able to play an innings like that.'

Watson, who worked with Pant during his stint as Delhi Capitals' assistant coach, added 'But knowing him, that doesn't surprise me. He's so desperate to be the best he possibly can, and that showed tonight. It was Pant's resilience and mental strength that helped him make an early recovery.'

Pant came in for more praise, this time from Delhi Capitals Director of Cricket Sourav Ganguly.

'Well played Rishabh Pant... you will remember this innings for a lifetime... You have played many brilliant ones and will play even better ones, but this story will remain with you always,' Ganguly tweeted.

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