Witnesses who came to the aid of Indian cricket star Rishabh Pant after he crashed his car have described a horrifying scene in the aftermath, with the wicketkeeper 'covered in blood'. Pant was taken to hospital with mild burns to his back and injuries to his face, arms and legs, but has been listed as in a stable condition.
There was an outpouring of well-wishes from around the cricket world when news emerged of Pant's accident. He was the only person in the car, which burst into flames after the 25-year-old reportedly drifted off-course and collided with a road divider.
Pant was forced to break the windshield of his Mercedes to free himself from the wreckage, with several bystanders coming to his aid. Local police told AFP the cricket superstar was 'lucky to survive'.
Eyewitness to the crash Sushil Kumar spoke to the Hindustan Times and other outlets about the scary scene. A driver for Haryana Roadways, Kumar encountered the accident moments after it happened in the early hours of 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,” he said. "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.”
Jay Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), tweeted: "Rishabh is stable and undergoing scans. We are closely monitoring his progress and will provide him with all the necessary support." Pant's Indian Premier League team Delhi Capitals said the crash occurred between Manglaur and Narsan in Haridwar district.
"He has now been shifted to a hospital in Dehradun after receiving primary treatment in a hospital in Roorkee," they said on Twitter.
Witness describes aftermath of shocking Rishabh Pant car crash
Kumar went on to describe how a 'panicked and limping' Pant had asked his rescuers to try to contact his mother. The 25-year-old was taken to hospital a short time later.
“I called the National Highway, no one answered. Then I rang up the police and the conductor called for an ambulance. We kept asking him he is he fine. Offered him some water," Kumar said. “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’.
“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.”
The 25-year-old has captained India in several one-day international matches, as well as having played 33 Test matches. He boasts a particularly formidable record in Australia, where he averages 62.40 runs from seven matches.
Since making his Test debut in 2018, Pant firmly established himself in the Indian team thanks to standout performances in Australia last year. His man-of-the-match winning second innings knock of 89 steered India to an unlikely victory at the Gabba which sealed the Border-Gavaskar series for the visitors.
Pant's last Test outing came against Bangladesh last week, in which he scored 93 in the second match of their series. The 25-year-old has accumulated 2271 Test runs at 43.67, including five centuries.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.