Former Indian skipper Kapil Dev insisted that he can relate to Rishabh Pant’s situation of being a young captain, and asserted that it will be imperative for the Delhi Capitals seniors to guide the wicket-keeper batsman. Dev hoped for Pant to pass his first test as captain with flying colours.
In 1982, a 23-year-old Kapil Dev led India for the first time in international cricket in an ODI against Sri Lanka and that game turned out to be the start of something special as only a year later, the all-rounder would remarkably go on to lead India to an improbable World Cup win. Unlike Dev, Rishabh Pant has the luxury of having a much stronger squad at his disposal, but the youngster will, nevertheless, have a gigantic task at hand, owing to the high stakes involved in a tournament like the Indian Premier League.
Pant has much more pressure and expectations on his shoulder than Dev did, but the former Indian skipper asserted that he was able to relate to the wicket-keeper’s situation, having once been a very young captain himself. Speaking to ABP News, the 62-year-old said that, for Pant to succeed and not feel the pressure, it’ll be imperative that he is guided and nurtured by seniors such as Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane.
“If senior players support him then it won't be that difficult for him. I had a similar experience of becoming a Captain at such a young age,” Dev told ABP News, reported Hindustan Times.
“Ricky Ponting can control the game only in the dressing room. Once the team is out on the ground, it's the captain's thought process that matters more. And experienced players like Rahane and Dhawan Will have to support the young captain. Sometimes the support is missing and we have to wait for the first few matches to get there,” Kapil said.
Pant was handed the captaincy after impressing in Indian colours, but in IPL 2020 the southpaw endured his worst season, scoring 343 runs at a dismal strike rate of 113.95. Kev reckoned that for Pant to get people rallying behind him, the youngster would need to lead from the front with the bat.
“The most important factor will be his own performance. If he performs well then he'll gradually get everyone's support but if his performance is not up to the mark the everyone will say it was because of captaincy pressure. He is going into the tournament after playing some very good cricket,” Dev said.
Last season, the Capitals reached the final of the IPL for the first time in their history, but the former Indian skipper reckoned that it would be extremely difficult for Pant to lead the side to glory this time around. Dev said that DC might have a 25-26% chance of winning the trophy, but asserted that IPL 2021 will be a great learning curve for the newly-appointed Capitals skipper.
“Yes, there maybe 25-26% chances (of Pant winning the IPL for DC), I don't think anything more than that because then you're saying he's better than the other teams (captains). He's a new captain, he needs a lot of experience. But it's a bit difficult to go all the way (in his first attempt as captain).
"I can't say now whether Rishabh Pant is a good captain material or not, it's very difficult. It can be decided only once he gets his hands on it. And at this stage, it's very difficult because the pressure is at another level. If he performs well, it will be a great thing for the team,” Dev concluded.