“Gratitude to #SushilKumar, a Haryana Roadways driver who took #RishabhPant away from the burning car, wrapped him with a bedsheet and called the ambulance. We are very indebted to you for your selfless service, Sushil ji #RealHero,” VVS Laxman wrote on Twitter.
“Also special mention to the bus conductor, Paramjit who along with Driver Sushil helped Rishabh. Very grateful to these selfless guys who had great presence of mind and a big heart. Gratitude to them and all who helped,” he added on the microblogging platform.
Earlier, the bus driver, named Sushil Mann revealed chilling details of the cricketer's accident.
Sushil Mann, who works for the state transporter, Haryana Roadways disclosed that Rishabh Pant’s vehicle was coming from the opposite direction at an extremely high speed when it crashed into the divider.
“I am a driver with Haryana Roadways, Panipat depot. Our bus has left Haridwar at 4:25 in the morning. I was on my way when I saw a car, being driven at a lot of speed, got disbalanced and crashed into the divider. After the impact, the car landed on the wrong side of the road – the one that goes to Delhi. The car had screeched onto the second lane of the road seeing which I immediately applied the brakes. The car had already caught sparks so I and the conductor rushed to get him out of the car. By then the fire has started. Then, three more people came running and got him on a safe side,” Sushil Mann told multiple media outlets.
“We began to cry for help but no one came. I called the National Highway, no one answered. Then I ran up the police and the conductor called for an ambulance. We kept asking him he is he fine. Offered him some water. After regrouping, he told us he is Rishabh Pant. I don't follow cricket so I didn't know who he was but my conductor then told me ‘Sushil… he is an India cricketer',” Sushil Mann added.
“He gave us his mother's number. We called her but her phone was switched off. The ambulance arrived after 15 minutes and we got in him. He had also scattered his money on the road, which we picked up and handed them to him in his hands. I asked him if he was alone in the car. He said there is no one. His face was covered in blood and his clothes torn and his back was scratched. He was panicking and limping,” he revealed.
According to eyewitness accounts, Rishabh Pant's Mercedes Benz car first hit a divider before catching fire near Roorkee city of the hill state. The India batter, however, was lucky to escape through one of the windows of the car.
Though he managed to evade death, the left-hander did suffer multiple injuries, including cuts on his forehead, a ligament tear in his right knee, and a fracture in one of his legs.
He underwent forehead plastic surgery at the Max hospital in Dehradun on Saturday. The cricket star is currently stable and out of danger.
“Rishabh Pant underwent a minor plastic surgery near his forehead. A 3-member DDCA team is reaching Dehradun in an hour. BCCI is constantly in touch with the doctors at Max Hospital and with Pant's family. He is currently stable and out of danger. We are yet to decide whether he needs to be shifted to Delhi or not,” DDCA director Shyam Sharma told reporters after visiting him at the hospital on Saturday.
“He is stable & recovering well. Our BCCI doctors are in touch with the doctors here. Jay Shah is monitoring it. As of now, he'll remain admitted here. He told me that he tried to save (his car) from a pothole (when the accident occurred),” Shyam Sharma added.
Coming back to Pant's cricketing career, he was instrumental in India's 2-0 clean sweep of Bangladesh in the Test series earlier this month. Not only, the southpaw made a score of 93 during the two Test matches against the Asian neighbors, but also reached the milestone of 4,000 runs in international cricket.
Rishabh Pant was recently left out of the squad for next month's ODI and T20I series against Sri Lanka.
Following his near-fatal car crash, the wicketkeeper batter is set to stay out of action for the first six months of 2023. Multiple media reports suggest that the left-handed explosive batter will certainly miss the crucial four-match Test series against Australia in February-March. Additionally, he is said to be out of contention for the 2023 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).