Rishabh Pant Reflects on Near-Death Experience and Road to Recovery

In a candid interview with Star Sports, Rishabh Pant opened up about the harrowing experience of his near-fatal car accident, the challenges of recovery, and his determination to bounce back stronger than ever. The young wicketkeeper-batsman revealed how the accident left him bedridden and in need of extensive support, a stark contrast to his usual independent and active lifestyle.

Pant recounted the moment of the accident when he felt like “his time was up” and experienced the feeling of giving up for the first time in his life. However, he acknowledged the support of the medical staff and the unconditional love of his mother, which played a crucial role in his recovery.

“For 30 days, I was bedridden. I couldn’t move. The friction burns were extreme and initially when I was trying to walk, I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to resume walking/running in a normal way. I needed a lot of help in the early stages. Just to stand up, three to four people had to help me around. Since my childhood, I’m used to running around and doing my things on my own. So, this feeling was disturbing for me and I felt disrespectful to myself as to how anyone can be so helpless.”

Pant said that when he met the accident, he felt in the moment that “his time was up” and how he “gave up” for the first time in his life.

“Luckily when the accident happened, I was aware of the wounds, I was lucky as it could easily have been a lot worse than it was. I didn’t know what it was that saved me. My right leg was dislocated, I was lying down. I asked somebody for help and thanks to them, I was able to fix my leg back into the right position. If my nerve had been damaged, we would have had to amputate my leg. That was when I got really scared, because earlier, I was in so much pain that I couldn’t think of anything else.

“For the first time in life, I had given up. I felt like my time in this world was up. Never had this feeling before.”

The 26-year-old emphasized the importance of focusing on the present and the process of recovery, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. He described his rehabilitation as a tedious and frustrating process but stressed the need to stay committed to it.

Reflecting on his absence from the 2023 IPL season due to the accident, Pant admitted to feeling the strain of not being able to contribute to his team, Delhi Capitals, as both a player and captain. He also shared how he had to limit his exposure to cricket during this period to avoid unnecessary stress.

Pant touched upon the pressure of being compared to the legendary MS Dhoni early in his career, admitting that it was a challenging period for him. However, he expressed gratitude for Dhoni’s guidance and support, which helped him navigate through the tough times.

“When I started out, there were a lot of seniors. Also Yuvi pa (Yuvraj Singh), Mahi Bhai (MS Dhoni) were all there. So, there were super seniors in there. But they never made me feel like I was playing with super seniors. They were very welcoming and made me feel comfortable. I think this has always been the culture of the Indian team. To make each other comfortable.

“I never understood this comparison (with Dhoni) because one player had barely played five games and the other had played 500 games. The comparison made no sense at all. I used to go back in my room and cry. I felt a lot of pressure and wondered how I’ll manage. Then I missed that stumping in Mohali and the crowd started to chant ‘Dhoni! Dhoni!’. It was tough.”

Despite the setback, Pant remains determined to resume playing cricket and is looking forward to his return to the field. He expressed his eagerness to take on the challenges ahead with a positive mindset and unwavering self-belief.

As Pant continues his journey towards full recovery, his story serves as an inspiration to many, highlighting the resilience and courage needed to overcome adversity. His focus on staying grounded and embracing the present moment reflects his maturity and determination to make a successful comeback.

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