Nothing short of a miracle: Pant returns for T20 World Cup after car crash

He will be among a 15-member squad headed to the United States and West Indies for the tournament starting June 1


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Rishabh Pant  with Sanju Samson. — X
Rishabh Pant with Sanju Samson. — X

Published: Tue 30 Apr 2024, 9:27 PM

Rishabh Pant was named on Tuesday in India's squad for the T20 World Cup in June, his first return to international cricket after a horror car crash 16 months ago.

The 26-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman has impressed with his return to elite cricket this year, scoring 398 runs from 11 games in the ongoing Indian Premier League.

He will be among a 15-member squad headed to the United States and West Indies for the tournament starting June 1.

Rohit Sharma will lead the side with under-fire vice-captain Hardik Pandya, with veteran wicketkeeper K.L. Rahul making way for Pant's return.

Pant had termed his comeback to the game as "nothing short of a miracle" after a road crash in December 2022, when his Mercedes rammed into a barrier, flipped and caught fire near New Delhi.

"The kind of accident I had, I'm lucky to be alive," he said in December.

"I think it was very challenging, especially the first part I would say more from a physical point of view... there was a lot of pain to be endured."

The crash left him with a damaged ligament in his right knee, a hurt wrist and ankle, and abrasions to his back.

He fought back after an intensive rehabilitation programme and time on crutches at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.

Pant was reinstated as captain of Delhi Capitals for the ongoing season after Australia opener David Warner led the team in his absence last year.

His first match back earned him a standing ovation from the crowd after a 51 off 32 balls.

Pant has played for India a total of 129 times in all three formats since 2017.

Batting mainstay Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav and have also been named to the squad, while Shubman Gill was among four reserves.

Star all-rounder Pandya is coming back into the T20 team after an ankle injury sustained during last year's ODI World Cup at home forced him to sit out the Afghanistan series in January.

Pandya has struggled with consistency in a tough IPL so far after he replaced veteran Rohit Sharma as captain of Mumbai Indians.

He has been relentlessly booed by the crowd during his appearances after failing to match the form of his resoundingly popular successor, prompting frustration from the Mumbai camp.

"I am sick and fed up of (people) looking to pinpoint individuals," batting coach Kieron Pollard said after one instance this month.

"This is an individual that is going to represent the country in less than six weeks' time, and all are going to cheer him and want him to do well."

Squad: Rohit Sharma (capt), Hardik Pandya (vice-capt), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj.

Reserves: Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Khaleel Ahmed and Avesh Khan.


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