Rishabh Pant’s recipe for India comeback had a dash of ‘olive oil’ | CricketNews

Rishabh Pant’s recipe for India comeback had a dash of ‘olive oil’ | CricketNews
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NEW DELHI: Rishabh Pant’s scarcely believable international comeback on Tuesday — in a span of just 16 months following a horrific car accident that left him severely injured and pondering when he would walk again, let alone play at the international level — is an inspirational story.

Of course, Pant’s remarkable recovery did not come without steely resilience and determination to get back full fitness, a process that did not come without pain and sacrifice.

Selected for India’s T20 World campaign on Tuesday, there is more behind Pant’s re-emergence than just the runs he has scored for Delhi Capitals in the ongoing IPL, or the long hours he has kept wickets.

TOI has learned that the wicketkeeper-batter has shed a total of around 16 kg in the past four months. He had dropped around 13 kg before the IPL started, in the last week of March. Interestingly, he is now around 9 kg lighter than his pre-accident weight.

During an exclusive interview with TOI after being declared fit by BCCI on March 12, Pant had said: “I can’t wait to get back into the Indian dressing room and enjoy the feeling with my teammates. I have left no stone unturned to do that. “I ensured nobody gets a chance to complain about any aspect of my game.”

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Along with his fitness routines, Pant put himself through a punishing diet.

“I have adopted a calorie-deficit diet since late December. If his body demanded 1400 calories a day, he was given around 1000 calories. It was tough on him since he had to train very hard to gain match-fitness and had to strengthen the muscles on his injured right leg,” a source involved in Pant’s rehabilitation said.

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His favorite food — rasmalai, biryani and fried chicken — was banished from his dining table. Even sushi, a dish considered healthy for the fitness conscious, was not allowed.

“Pant wanted flavor in his food. That’s why he moved into a rented house in Bengaluru while he was at the NCA, instead of a hotel. I have preferred home-cooked food. He was allowed only 5 ml of extra virgin olive oil. He couldn’t give up his love for chilly chicken. So, a recipe was derived to make it with that much oil. Goan bhindi was one of his favorites,” the source said.

Not just the diet, he had to adhere to a strict sleep cycle too.

“All gadgets, including phones, iPads and TVs were shut down by 11 in the night. “He had to have eight-nine hours of uninterrupted sleep to get back to rigorous training next morning,” the source said.

As he got closer to full fitness, Pant batted for about two and a half hours every day. He has summarized his wicketkeeping drills on the heels of the IPL, practicing his glovework for about 45 minutes a day.

The results are there for everyone to see. Pant looks as lean as he was when he first burst onto the scene. Now, cricket watchers can’t wait to see Pant in India colors again, that too in a World Cup.

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