New Delhi: Star India batsman Rishabh Pant was on Tuesday named captain of Delhi Capitals in place of an injured Shreyas Iyer for the upcoming Indian Premier League season beginning on 9 April.
Iyer has been ruled out of the IPL after injuring his left shoulder during the recently-concluded India-England ODI series.
"Under Shreyas' captaincy, our team reached newer heights, and he is going to be missed immensely. In his absence, the franchise has collectively picked Rishabh to lead the team this year," DC Chairman and co-owner Kiran Kumar Gandhi said in a release.
"While it has come under unfortunate circumstances, it is a tremendous opportunity for him to grow further. I wish him all the best in his new role."
This will be 23-year-old Pant's debut as IPL captain. The wicketkeeper-batsman has captained Delhi's state team in the past.
A dream come true moment for @RishabhPant17
— Delhi Capitals (@DelhiCapitals) March 30, 2021
"Delhi is where I grew up, and where my IPL journey began six years ago. To lead this team one day is a dream I've always harboured. And today, as that dream comes true, I feel humbled," Pant said.
"I am truly grateful, especially to our team owners, who considered me capable enough for this role. With an amazing coaching staff, and a plethora of accomplished seniors around me, I can't wait to give my absolute best for Delhi Capitals."
Pant was one of the architects of India's historic 2-1 Test series win in Australia in January. He then played a big role in India's 3-1 Test series win against England, scoring 270 runs from six innings with the help of a century.
Pant also returned to India's white-ball team against England. After a decent outing in the T20 Internationals, he was in cracking form in the ODI series, hitting 77 and 78 in the two matches he played.
Iyer described Pant as the best player to lead the Delhi side.
"When I sustained the shoulder injury, and Delhi Capitals needed a leader for this edition of the IPL, I had no doubt that Rishabh would be the best man for the job," he said.
"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."
Head coach Ricky Ponting said Pant's success in the series against Australia and England will give him the confidence needed to take on the new role.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for young Rishabh, who is coming off successful stints against Australia and England which will no doubt give him the confidence needed to take on a new role that comes with a lot more responsibility," the former Australian captain said.
"The coaching group is excited to work with him, and we can't wait for the season to get started."
Co-owner Parth Jindal said Pant embodies DC's passionate and fearless brand of cricket.
"There is no doubt that Shreyas Iyer's leadership and batting will be missed this year, and we hope to see him back on the field soon," Jindal said.
"Delhi Capitals as a team plays a passionate and fearless brand of cricket, and Rishabh Pant embodies that best. The Delhi team has played an important role in his growth as a cricketer, just like he has played an equally important role in the growth of the Delhi team."
The Delhi Capitals will take on Chennai Super Kings in their first match of the IPL 2021 season, at the Wankhede Stadium, on 10 April.
Delhi Capitals finished as runners-up in the last edition of the IPL, losing to Mumbai Indians in the final.
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Pamment said at no stage did he feel his health was going to be put in jeopardy within the bubble set up by MI at a Mumbai hotel.
"I am supporting the Hemkunt Foundation through a monetary donation that will help provide O2 cylinders with beds, Covid-relief kits and much more to those suffering across the country," Pant said in a statement posted on his Twitter handle.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 plunged into a deeper crisis on Tuesday when BCCI confirmed that the tournament was suspended indefinitely due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in India.