A file photo of Rishabh Pant Image Credit: Supplied

CHANDIGARH: India's Rishabh Pant on Saturday said he was "really emotional" ahead of his comeback Indian Premier League match, returning to the field for the first time since a horror 2022 car crash.

The wicketkeeper-batsman returns as captain of Delhi Capitals after 14 months away from elite cricket in his team's opening IPL match against Punjab Kings.

"Really emotional time for me," Pant said at the toss after Delhi were invited to bat first at Mullanpur. "Just want to enjoy the moment."

Pant crashed his Mercedes SUV north of New Delhi before dawn in December 2022, suffering multiple injuries when the car rammed into a crash barrier, flipped over and caught fire.

He was rushed to hospital before being airlifted to Mumbai for further treatment and surgery.

Pant has been on an intensive rehabilitation programme since the crash left him with a damaged ligament in his right knee, a hurt wrist and ankle, and abrasions to his back.

He was replaced as skipper of Delhi Capitals by David Warner of Australia and the team ended ninth in the 10-team table last year.

"Not thinking much. Not worried about last season," Pant said. "Really exciting times. We have been preparing well."

Delhi have never won an IPL title since the lucrative Twenty20 league began in 2008.

Pant, an attacking left-hand batsman, has played 129 internationals for India across three formats, scoring 4,123 runs, including six centuries.