At 23, Pant will become the fifth youngest captain in the IPL
Rishabh Pant has been appointed Delhi Capitals’ captain for the 2021 IPL. The development comes in the wake of Capital’s regular captain Shreyas Iyer being ruled of the season after he dislocated his left shoulder during the ODI series against England. This is the first captaincy assignment for Pant in the IPL, who was bought by the Capitals in 2016 IPL and then became the first player to be retained ahead of the 2018 mega auction.
At 23, Pant will become the fifth youngest captain in the IPL after Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Suresh Raina and Iyer respectively. While Kohli and Smith assumed leadership at 22, Raina and Iyer were 23, too, but older in terms of days than Pant.
Despite his inexperience, Pant was one of the frontrunners in the captaincy race to replace Iyer along with the senior Indian pair of R Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane, who had long leadership stints at Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals respectively. Pant had only lead Delhi in domestic cricket, but he has been in phenomenal form as a matchwinner for India recently, starting with the historic Test series win in Australia followed by the series win across the three formats against England at home.
Pant said he was “humbled” to take on the captaincy, which he admitted was a “dream” from the time he started playing for the Capitals.
“Delhi is where I grew up, and where my IPL journey began six years ago,” Pant said in a Capitals’ media release on Tuesday. “To lead this team one day is a dream I’ve always harboured. And today, as that dream comes true, I feel humbled.”
Iyer, who is awaiting surgery on his hand shortly, said Pant was the “best man” to take charge at the Capitals in his absence. “I had no doubt that Rishabh would be the best man for the job,” Iyer said in the media release. “He has all my good wishes to make amazing things happen with our absolutely incredible team. I’m going to miss the team tremendously, and will be cheering for them throughout.”
The decision to appoint Pant was taken collectively by the franchise co-owners Kiran Kumar Grandhi and Parth Jindal along with the Capitals’ head coach Ricky Ponting.