Dubai: Having made the necessary adjustments during these ‘new normal’ times, the Delhi Capitals are looking confidently ahead as they face the Kings XI Punjab in Sunday’s match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
“We have done most of our research on them, but we’ve got a little more to do to prepare for the game,” Delhi head coach Ricky Ponting told media from across the globe in the customary prematch conference on Saturday.
“We cannot really say anything about this IPL tournament as every squad out there is a very strong squad. As far as the KXIP are concerned, we know them as a team and what they are capable of doing. But that said, we are 100 per cent prepared for the task ahead. It has been a long preparation period and we hope to start strong to get our IPL campaign under way.”
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Ponting also brushed aside the constant talk about being under pressure in the coronavirus-safe environment in the UAE. “There is no pressure on how the game is played. We have been in the bio bubble and the interaction between us has been different. The fact that there are no crowds means there is less pressure,” he said.
“As the coaching staff, it is just about giving our team the best chance to perform at their best levels. We are just approaching this first game as any other game and we want to focus on nothing more than the first one. We need a good start.”
Sunday’s opener will be an indicator in more ways than one for the DC set-up, who have splurged some serious cash while having some of the most experienced players at their disposal such as Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Shimron Hetmyer and Alex Carey, who last week starred in Australia’s 2-1 win in the ODI series against hosts England.
“All preparations have been different this time. We are yet to play our first game and we all know there will be some challenges there. But, once we start then we will create our own energy on the field so that our fans are happy with what we do,” Ponting said.
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During December’s auction in Bengaluru, DC released a clutch of players and brought in exciting names such as Carey, Hetmyer, Daniel Sams, Marcus Stoinis, Tushar Deshpande and Lalit Yadav. “We are convinced we have a good band of players, and having such names means we also go in with a lot of flexibility,” Ponting said. “Rahane has given us the depth. Shikhar was good as anybody last season. He took the game to the other. He scored more than 600 runs last season and he had a super series. He looks an even better this year from what I have seen during training. Shreyas has always been the leader and then we have others like Stoinis, Ashwin and Carey.
“We have a lot of our bases covered and the hard work that has been put in particularly in the last three weeks will start showing off starting off with the first match. This is one of the most focused teams that I have seen preparing and I am really excited about what lies ahead.”