Rishabh Pant India Test
India's players rushed to congratulate Rishabh Pant (R) Patrick HAMILTON/AFP News

Indian cricketer Rishabh Pant is set to make a comeback on the field at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 after over a year out of the game.

The wicketkeeper-batsman was involved in a serious car accident in December 2022, where he suffered multiple injuries to his head, back, and feet after miraculously surviving the horrific crash.

Pant is currently undergoing rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru and is expected to regain fitness by the end of February.

Pant is the captain of Delhi Capitals (DC) in the IPL. While the franchise expects him to be fully fit to start the 17th season of the Indian T20 league, Pant's active participation in IPL games will be subject to clearance from the NCA managers.

The 26-year-old player could play as a sole batter in IPL 2024 if not cleared up to keep wickets, a source close to the franchise has revealed. Pant will don the wicketkeeping gloves only if he receives a green signal from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Otherwise, he'll focus on just batting and fielding.

"If he is not keeping, he will definitely be on the field and will lead the side," a DC official told Cricbuzz.

In the lead-up to the IPL 2024, DC recently had a camp in the Indian city of Kolkata, where skipper Pant went through the paces under the watchful eyes of the coaching staff comprising Ricky Ponting, Sourav Ganguly, and Pravin Amre. They also discussed Delhi's retention and release of players ahead of the upcoming IPL 2024 auction, which is due to take place on Dec. 19 in Dubai.

Team India has played as many as 62 international matches across formats since January this year. Among the numerous fixtures, Pant has missed the four-Test home series against Australia, the IPL 2023, a series in the West Indies, Ireland, the Asia Cup, and the World Cup. The Delhi cricketer is also likely to be unavailable for the upcoming three-match T20I series against Afghanistan and the subsequent five-Test series against England in February and March.

Pant was travelling alone when he met with a tragic accident on the Delhi-Dehradun Highway when he was on his way home in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The cricketer supposedly fell asleep while driving his car. The Mercedes car hit the road divider on the highway and caught fire. The India cricketer then broke the windscreen to escape from the wreckage.

There is still no certain information about the start date of IPL 2024 but reports in the Indian media have stated that the cash-rich tournament could begin at the end of March.