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'Rishabh became better since Dhoni...': Ganguly's big IPL 2023 statement on DC's "irreplaceable" superstar
By Swarnali Saha
Legendary Indian cricketer Sourav Ganguly believes Rishabh Pant's unfortunate injury will serve as an opportunity for youngsters who want to step up in the absence of the former Delhi Capitals (DC) captain during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023. Runners-up in the 2020 edition of the cash-rich league, Delhi Capitals appointed veteran opener David Warner as the captain of the franchise after Pant was ruled out of the entire IPL season.
Former DC skipper Pant is set to miss the entire 2023 season after the wicketkeeper-batter suffered multiple injuries in a serious car accident last year. Bengal wicketkeeper-batter Abishek Porel was recently named as Pant's replacement for the IPL 2023. Eyeing their maiden IPL crown in the 16th season of the cash-rich league, Pant-less DC kickstarted their campaign with a defeat to Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) on Saturday.
Speaking ahead of DC's upcoming match against defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) in the IPL 2023, Ganguly admitted that a player of Pant's calibre is not replaceable in franchise tournaments. The former India skipper also opined that Pant became a much better player after legendary wicketkeeper MS Dhoni called time on his illustrious international career.
“Obviously the team will miss Rishabh, but this is an opportunity for others to step up. We will miss him (Rishabh) for the season as players like (Jasprit) Bumrah, Rishabh and Shreyas are not replaceable in franchise tournaments and best are distributed to all teams. I see this as an opportunity for someone to become better because Rishabh became better since MS Dhoni stopped playing. That’s the way players are produced. You see (Shubman) Gill getting better, Rutu (Ruturaj Gaikwad) playing well, so it’s an opportunity. Rishabh will be missed but most important is his recovery,” Ganguly told reporters.
Ganguly also backed batters Prithvi Shaw and Sarfaraz Khan after they were dismissed for cheap by speedster Mark Wood in their IPL 2023 opener against Lucknow. Asked to chase down a challenging total of 193 in 20 overs, Warner's DC only mustered 143/9 as Delhi lost the match by 50 runs at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium.