Cricket
Axar Patel thanked the Delhi Capitals skipper Shreyas Iyer for helping him to adjust with the new franchise quickly last year. Image Credit: Delhi Capitals

Dubai: Ricky Ponting, the much decorated former Australian captain and head coach of IPL franchise Delhi Capitals, has an unique way of motivating his players, revealed allrounder Axar Patel.

“Ricky would give a separate Man of the Match award in the dressing room for someone who used to contribute to the team with an exclusive badge,” said Patel, who had a reasonably good first season with Delhi last year after moving from Kings XI Punjab.

“I ended up winning it five times, and it ended up being a good recognition for me personally and it felt good to have contributed to the team’s victories,” he said in a live Instagram session on the franchise’s official handle.

It was a fruitful season for the Delhi outfit which made the play-offs like with a re-branded team and Patel thanked skipper Shreyas Iyer in particular for helping him fit into the new set-up quickly. “I’ve played with Shreyas at India A also and when I came to Delhi Capitals, it was really easy for me because we bond really well. On the field, he gives freedom to his bowlers, and lets you adjust the fields. He is quite patient as well, and I have really enjoyed playing under him,” said the left arm spinner and useful lower order batsman who scored 110 runs and picked up 10 wickets last season.

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The 26-year-old all-rounder, who had off-an-on stints in the Indian side, was picked up by the Delhi Capitals in the IPL 2019 Auction for Rs 50 million. “I was sceptical at first because I had spent five years at the Punjab franchise and I didn’t know what my future held. But I was following the auction and when I was picked up by Delhi Capitals, I was really excited because the team had so many players I had played with before. It was a bit different in the first couple days when I joined the pre-season camp, but it took me no time to adjust into the team due to the mood in the squad,” he recalled.

“I feel when you’re winning, the feeling is really different and the confidence is high. We had a great combination in our team, and the team environment was such that it brought out the best in all of us. When you have a great environment, then you end up playing great cricket also.” He added, “Making it to the play-offs in my first season with the franchise was great and it made for a good start for me here.”

Asked how he is utilising the prolonged lockdown period, Patel said: “I think the best we can do is think about all the positives - including when was the last time you spent so much time with family and how you can now follow your hobbies, and interact with fans like I am able to do now. It is down to how we think about the situation and I believe keeping a positive outlook is really important.”