IPL 2024: How Nicholas Pooran became a supportive figure for Rishabh Pant in his recovery journey

March 23, 2024
When Rishabh Pant makes a comeback to competitive cricket in Saturday’s afternoon game of IPL 2024 between Delhi Capitals and Punjab Kings

Mullanpur, March 23 (IANS) When Rishabh Pant makes a comeback to competitive cricket in Saturday’s afternoon game of IPL 2024 between Delhi Capitals and Punjab Kings at the Maharaja Yadavindra Singh International Cricket Stadium, Mullanpur, the cricketing fraternity around the world will be rooting for him.

Amongst the cricketing fraternity being elated on his comeback will be West Indies wicketkeeper-batter Nicholas Pooran, who is aware of what it feels like having doubts over walking again, let alone coming back to the cricket field, after surviving a car crash.

“Really exciting times for cricket overall, especially in India. Thus far, in his career, he has been tremendous and been one of India’s brightest stars. It’s so pleasurable-n-satisfying to see that he’s going to be in the park soon. I think everyone is looking forward to see how he goes and I am really excited and very happy for him.”

“I know that last 12-14 months have been really challenging for him, where he had the darkest days of his life. But he’s blessed and has now got another chance to play the game. I really hope he continues to enjoy the game, express himself and show the world the talent he’s blessed with,” said Pooran in an exclusive conversation with IANS.

In January 2015, Pooran needed two surgeries to repair a left patellar tendon and right ankle fracture, and then six months before he could start walking again and eventually play top-flight cricket again after surviving a car crash.

When Pant found himself in a situation where walking again and finding that normalcy like any other human being was more important than thinking of returning to the game after surviving a life-threatening car accident in December 2022, Pooran got in touch with him to be a supportive figure-cum-morale-booster in that difficult phase.

“I just believe when in a situation like that, you really need good people around you. For someone like me who’s been in a similar position as well, I just felt like I need to be there for him as well in this time. We have been quite good friends as well.”

“So it was just nice to have conversations – just pick up the phone, give him a call and chat for a little while to talk about what he’s going through in that moment. Whatever advice I had and helped me in my time, I just tried to share those experiences with him.”

“I just kept telling him that he’s going to be fine and that everything happens for a reason. He shouldn’t try to question things too much as whatever has happened, has happened and just try to stay positive throughout it.”

“Right from the beginning, he never doubted himself and had no doubts in his mind over being fine and eventually returning to play cricket. It was really nice to talk to him and just being there for him in those kind of situations. You just need people to be there to support you and I was trying to do exactly that,” recalled Pooran.

He also talked of the time where Pant realised patience was the need of the hour in his slow and long recovery journey. “He isn’t that patient when batting, but this was such a situation he found himself in, that he had to be patient about. Plus, it’s really slow progress as well, especially in injuries like this.”

“So, it was all about taking it day by day and he understood the task. He was really good at it although there were frustrating times. He handled the recovery process admirably like a champ, so well done to him.”

Things did change for the better for Pant, when he became crutches free and hit the nets again, which made Pooran elated, considering the smallest of wins become big milestones in the recovery journey moving at a snail’s pace.

“We live in different places and whenever I saw something related to his recovery process on Instagram, I would give him a call and get right to the source. Seeing videos of him being crutches free and batting again, that felt really good.”

“Those little victorious moments mean a lot, because I do know that when you start to see progress and are in those scenarios, then they are the junctures one really looks forward to in the journey to recovery. Those are the clinching points which motivate and inspire you to wake up in the morning and push even harder.”

Pooran, who will be tuned in to Saturday’s game from Jaipur, ahead of LSG’s season opener against Rajasthan Royals, thinks Pant will thrive in his multiple roles on the field – as a batter, wicketkeeper and being DC’s captain.

“He just needs to enjoy every moment of this game and have fun. It can’t get any simpler than that. He’s going to be fine and when he’s back on the field, he will figure it out to how to be at his old self. He’s going to be much better in playing as well, but for now, he just needs to embrace the situation and have fun.”

What a joie de vivre figure like Pant went through in the last 14 months has given him a whole new maturity and perspective on life which takes ages for people to gain. When he walks out for the toss at Mullanpur with that illuminating smile on his face, seeing Pant return to a cricket field serves as a testimony to his hardwork, determination and believe in himself.

“The faith in God was also important for him. He’s a positive guy and is one of those individuals who’s really optimistic in lots of situations. I am just so happy that he’s in a position of returning onto the cricket field. Just really looking forward to him hitting balls as far as he can,” signed off Pooran.

–IANS

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