Rishabh Pant: As a Delhi boy, leading India is a 'huge thing for me'
- Rishabh Pant is India’s captain for the SA series
- He replaced KL Rahul who was ruled out with an injury
- India and South Africa are set to play 5 T20Is
Rishabh Pant on Thursday said as a "Delhi boy", getting to lead India is a "huge thing for me." Pant, who is currently leading India in the first T20I against South Africa, was named India's captain after KL Rahul was ruled out with an injury.
Rahul, India's stand-in captain for the five-match T20I series, was ruled out on the eve of the opening fixture in Delhi due to a right groin injury. Hardik Pandya, who recently captained Gujarat Titans (GT) to their maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) title, was named Pant's vice-captain.
"As a Delhi boy, getting that (captaincy) honour at Delhi is a huge thing for me. Thanks to everyone for giving me this opportunity," said Pant on Thursday at the toss.
In his maiden appearance as India captain, Pant lost the toss and was asked to bat at Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi. Speaking of the conditions, Pant said," I think it is a good surface and don't mind batting first. But if I had won the toss I would have bowled first. It is one of the proudest moments in my cricketing career so far. We know our XI but at the same time we are giving different roles to players and see how they cope with that going forward."
While this is Pant's captaincy debut in the Indian shirt, he is the skipper of Delhi Capitals (DC) and has also led Delhi's domestic side in the past.
Meanwhile, Shreyas Iyer, who captained Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the IPL 2022, opened up on an injury he picked up ahead of the South Africa series before adding he was fine going into the first T20I.
"Straight after the IPL, I relaxed for a while. I was having this back issue that was really irritating me. After some rest, it got really better and then I hit the nets. I had a really good two days of training and practice. Good four sessions I had before coming into this game. I am in a good frame of mind.
We knew it was going to be hot and it was essential to keep ourselves hydrated. We did some catching under the dark skies just to get used to it. The dynamics and the structure was set over the last few series so it was just a like top up session for us leading up to the game," Iyer said ahead of the opening T20I.
India vs South Africa: Playing XI
South Africa XI: Quinton de Kock(wk), Temba Bavuma(c), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Tristan Stubbs, Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje
India XI: Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant(wk/c), Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Avesh Khan