Abhishek Porel set to replace Rishabh Pant at DC, Sarfaraz to start as first keeper in IPL

"He is only 21 and under the guidance of Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly, could be groomed as a second option even after Rishabh comes back," said an anonymous IPL source.

NEW DELHI: Talented Bengal keeper-batter Abhishek Porel is all set to be the injured Rishabh Pant's replacement at Delhi Capitals in the upcoming Indian Premier League season starting Friday.

DC have been fretting about an Indian replacement for Pant, who met with a horrific car accident late last year and ruled out of competitive cricket for at least one year.

"The DC are likely to put forth Abhishek Porel's name as Rishabh's replacement for the current season.

He is only 21 and under the guidance of Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly, could be groomed as a second option even after Rishabh comes back," an IPL source tracking the developments told PTI on the condition of anonymity.

However, maverick Mumbai man Sarfaraz Khan will be the Capitals' No.1 keeper-batter for at least the first few games, as it is unlikely that Phil Salt will be used from the onset.

"As of now, it looks like Sarfaraz will start against Lucknow Super Giants and if the experiment works, then he will continue," the source said.

The problem with Phil Salt could be his batting on a Kotla track which is not conducive for strokeplay.

The ball won't come on to the bat easily and he is likely to find it difficult against quality spinners.

The Delhi Capitals during their first camp in Kolkata had summoned Bengal's Porel, Karnataka gloves man Luvnith Sisodia and Saurashtra's domestic giant Sheldon Jackson for the trials but they were undecided.

In Delhi, they also included Barinder Vivek Singh, currently Railways' second keeper after Upendra Yadav and a hard-hitting left-hander, who boasts of a century in the National T20 Championship for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

While Jackson is the biggest name, but at 36, he is certainly not one for the future.

Another logic is that Jackson hasn't been able to crack the IPL code in all these years, and perhaps, not much is left in the tank.

Ditto for Vivek, who is more of a part-time glovesman and keeping against the scorching pace of Anrich Nortje could be a difficult proposition for a non-specialist.

Sisodia did have his moments but it is understood that Porel has impressed both Ponting and Ganguly during the trial games.

Porel has so far scored six half-centuries in 16 first-class games, apart from 66 dismissals with the gloves.

He has only played three domestic matches, but DC still decided to invest in him.

Meanwhile, with Bangladesh taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the ongoing three-match series against Ireland, DC are expecting that the BCB might just release Mustafizur Rahman before their first game on April 1.

The Ireland T20 series ends on April 1, and after that, there is a one-off Test match, but Mustafizur had quit the traditional format to prolong his white-ball career.

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