IPL 2024: DC director Ganguly feels Pant will become 'better captain with time'

New Delhi, May 15 Delhi Capitals' (DC) hope to qualify for the IPL 2024 playoffs still hangs in the balance despite culminating their league stage campaign with a 19-run win over Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) on Tuesday but team director Sourav Ganguly is pleased with captain Rishabh Pant's leadership skills in his comeback season and expects it to flourish in coming years.

With 14 points in as many games, Delhi sit in the fifth spot in the points table and are dependent upon different permutations and combinations to qualify for the knockout round.

Pant returned to cricketing action in IPL 2024 after more than a year of injury layoff following a fatal car accident in December 2022.

"Pant is a young captain, he'll learn with time. The way he returned from injury to play a full season; we had our doubts during the offseason. Indian players are crucial, especially since the IPL shifted to 10 teams. I am very happy for him that he returned to play so well over a full season," Ganguly told Jiocinema.

Under Pant's captaincy, DC won seven games in 13 matches after the wicketkeeper-batter was suspended for the clash against Royal Challengers Bengaluru. He also amassed 446 runs at an average of 40.55 including three half-centuries.

"He has all my well-wishes for whatever is next. With time, he'll become a better captain. Nobody is a great captain from day one, but he is an instinctual captain, he makes decisions on the ground. With more time, he'll get better," he added.

Former India captain picked pacer Mukesh Kumar as the team's best bowler in the season. The 30-year-old has been the joint-highest wicket-taker for the franchise along with Khaleel Ahmed. The former has picked 17 scalps in 10 matches while Khaleed matches the same wicket tally in 14 games.

"Mukesh has been our best bowler this season. He bowls all the difficult overs, whether at the start or at the death. There has been no match this season where we didn't need his bowling in the death. We knew that conceding sixes would lead to more losses, so he's consistently delivered there. Our Indian bowlers have been great this season," the veteran southpaw asserted.

Ganguly also heaped praise on young pacer Rasikh Salam for clinching nine wickets in eight matches for the franchise. "You've seen Rasikh's development over time. The more matches he played, the better he got. It's not easy to bowl on the Delhi wicket. This wicket is great, and the ground isn't that big, so I think for any bowler, it isn't easy to bowl here. Rasikh has improved a lot," he said.

Tristan Stubbs is the second-highest run-scorer for DC after skipper Pant. The Proteas batter scored 378 runs with three fifties while Australian youngster Jake Fraser-McGurk added 330 runs to his tally including four half-centuries.

On contributions of Jake Fraser-McGurk and Tristan Stubbs in the season, Ganguly said, "Both players are really young, one is 22 and the other is 23. This was the first year where both players played a full TATA IPL season, and both have shown incredible improvement. I hadn't seen much of Jake before, but I had watched Stubbs."

"Both players have improved a lot and in these conditions, it's not easy to find overseas players in the middle order because the wicket is slow and the ball spins. Stubbs plays spin really well, so he's been valuable for us," he concluded.

Source: IANS

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