IPL - Ajay Ratra
Ajay Ratra, former Indian wicketkeeper and fielding coach of Delhi Capitals, conducts fielding drills as Shreyas Iyer (behind) is on alert at their pre-season camp in Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Kolkata: The biggest challenge for Delhi Capitals, table-toppers in IPL 2021 when the league was suspended in early May in India due to Covid-19 cases, will be to regain the momentum when the season resumes in the UAE shortly - according to assistant coach Ajay Ratra.

A former Indian wicketkeeper during skipper Sourav Ganguly’s tenure, Ratra had been conducting the pre-season camp in Dubai along with their batting coach Pravin Amre. While head coach Ricky Ponting and cowling coach James Hopes are yet to join the team from Australia, Ratra said they had been sharing the inputs - along with the progress of Shreyas Iyer - with them. “We have been in touch with Ricky and Hopes. We do zoom calls with Delhi Capitals management regularly, and everyone from the coaching staff attends it, including our strength and conditioning coach Rajinikanth Sivagnanam, physios Dhananjay Kaushik and Patrick Farhart,” he said.


Speaking to Delhi Capitals during at the ICC Academy ground, Ratra struck a realistic note: “It’s a different season altogether, generally it happens in full flow and we had good momentum in the first half. Now that it’s happening after a break, we will have to start afresh and that’s why our franchise has organised this camp a little early. We do have sufficient time to get back into the rhythm we had in the first half of the competition and fortunately, most of our players have been playing international cricket,” said Ratra.

When asked whether the long gap will break the team’s momentum, Ratra said; “Even in Test cricket, sometimes it becomes difficult to find the rhythm after lunch breaks. So, breaks do make a difference.’’

“However, as I said before, we still have time and most of our core players are playing international cricket, so they might be already in a good rhythm. Whereas, those who are coming from a long break, are utilising this camp. We have been spending more time with our domestic players, and there are good facilities here so we will hopefully find our rhythm soon,” he added.

“We usually discuss the kind of practice regimes we need to set. Also, when this camp started, Pravin Bhai (Pravin Amre) presented the whole plan to Ricky and all the other coaches. Similarly, I shared fielding plans for this camp with everyone,” Ratra added.

Capitals, who had seen a major turnaround in their fortunes after the ra-branding in 2019, had won six out of their eight matches in the Indian leg of the campaign. The runners-up of 2020 edition start their campaign against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai on September 22.