What’s the story?
Delhi Daredevils head coach Paddy Upton has asked his players to offer the necessary support to youngster Rishabh Pant, whose father passed away on Wednesday night. Upton feels that the untimely death of Rajendra Pant is certain to have an impact on the 20-year-old wicketkeeper batsman and is hopeful that his teammates can help him recover from the personal tragedy.
“(He’s a) young man. So, we're going to really need the whole team to rally around him to give him a lot of support not only over the next couple of days but throughout the IPL,” Upton said.
“Something like this is obviously going to affect him in the medium and long term. We just have to be mindful and supportive of his personal situation and family situation,” he added.
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Upon hearing the unfortunate news of his father’s death, Pant had left the Delhi Daredevils camp on Thursday morning to perform the last rites of his father at Haridwar. While an official of the IPL franchise, who didn’t wish to be named, had said that Pant could take as much time as required before rejoining the squad, the youngster made it to the DD team camp on Friday night itself ahead of their first game of IPL season 10 against RCB on Saturday.
The heart of the matter
Upton, the former mental conditioning coach of the Indian cricket team, is keen to ensure that the impact that the personal tragedy could have on Pant is kept to a minimum and wants the DD players to chip in by offering their support to the youngster.
Pant is expected to be a key player for Delhi Daredevils who have been hit hard by JP Duminy pulling out of the tournament due to the personal reasons. The youngest player to represent India in a T20 international, Pant heads into IPL 10 on the back of a stellar 2016-17 Ranji Trophy campaign during which he scored the fastest century in the history of the prestigious tournament, reaching the three-figure mark off just 48 balls.
He also replaced Gautam Gambhir as captain of the Delhi side for the Vijay Hazare trophy and Upton will be hopeful that Pant can overcome the personal loss with his strong personality that has seen him make such a big impact at a very young age and wants his teammates to provide the support required.
Pant is expected to open the innings for DD along with Sam Billings with the franchise aiming to make maximum use of his attacking instincts. His 40-ball 69 against Gujarat Lions in the previous edition of the IPL was a knock for the archives and DD will be hopeful that he can produce a similar knock at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Saturday.
RCB for their part will be looking to kickstart their season following the disappointing loss against reigning champions Sunrisers Hyderabad in the opening match of the campaign on Wednesday.
The untimely death of his father is a personal tragedy that is sure to leave an impact on Pant. The youngster needs all the support from the coaching staff and his teammates to help him pull through in these tough times.
Having a mentor like Rahul Dravid in the ranks will surely help Pant and by rejoining the squad already, he has already shown that he possesses a strong personality and we sincerely hope that he is able to focus and play the way we know he is capable of during IPL 10 and beyond.