Watch: Rishabh Pant back on a cricket ground after eight months; hits one for six
Rishabh Pant maybe far off a return to India colours, still recovering from the horrific injuries sustained following a disastrous car crash late last year, but the aggressive wicketkeeper-batter stepped on a cricket field and yield his willow after eight long months on Tuesday (August 15).
Pant donned his pads and batting gloves and came out to bat at the JSW VJNR ground after attending a special function organised by the company that co-owns the cricketer's Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Delhi Capitals (DC).
A clip from the entire event has gone viral on social media as the left-hander was seen batting in the middle without any great discomfort. The 25-year-old took small steps onto the pitch and played an impressive forward defensive push against the spinner.
This being a scenario that nobody expected this early in Rishabh Pant's recovery and rehabilitation programme has once again raised hopes of Indian cricket lovers to see the game-changer back soon playing in the national colours.
Rishabh Pant returns to the field, hits six over cover
Pant even attempted a square cut on the next delivery but missed it this time. What followed, however, left fans present at the small ground and on social media in an absolute frenzy as Pant stood tall on a full-pitched delivery and smashed it for six over deep extra cover.
It was the most commanding of hits, one that gives a positive summation of where Pant stands in his recovery after being deemed fit to resume batting in the nets and undergoing keeping and other practising drills by the NCA physios and medical staff, as per the latest BCCI update.
The board had also said Pant will be entering the next phase of his recovery process, currently "following a fitness programme designed for him which includes strength, flexibility and running." While no timeline is set as to when he can be expected to return for national duty, Pant is definitely ruled out of contention for the looming 2023 World Cup.
A more realistic point of return for the cricketer could be the tour of South Africa later in the year or the marquee home Test series against England as he looks to regain full strength and proper fitness standards required to withstand the physical and mental load of the top-level game.