Kolkata: Ricky Ponting, the Delhi Capitals head coach and a master motivator, said it would make a big difference to have Shreyas Iyer back from the injury in the second phase of their campaign in the UAE. Iyer, captain of the squad for more than last two seasons, had to miss the entire Indian leg due to a serious shoulder surgery.
“It’s great to have Shreyas back. He has got an infectious attitude. I have been talking to him a lot and his training has been great. He’s so keen to get back into the field, score runs and win. he is a world class player and he’s going to add a lot to our team, there’s no doubt about that,” said the former Australian captain, who had hit the ground running alongwith compatriot bowling coach James Hope at the ICC Academy grounds in Dubai.
Iyer, who had been a steadying force as No.4 in the Capitals’ batting line-up, has just missed the cut for the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup, though he is among the three stand-byes alongwith Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar. The Delhi Capitals management, meanwhile, opted for continuity when they announced on Thursday that Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant will continue as skipper for the rest of the season. Pant had done a commendable job as a stand-in skipper for Iyer in the first leg.
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“I have been waiting for four months to come back to the Delhi camp. I have such a great time when I work with the team and it’s a great time in my calendar year. I have been keeping a close eye on what’s been happening here. I have been speaking to the coaching staff here and they have done a great job so far (in the pre-season camp). You can see with the intensity and the attitude shown by the players that it’s been a really worthwhile camp so far. I am really excited about what we’ve got coming up in the next four-five weeks,” said the 46-year-old.
Ponting added that the team’s performance in the first half of the IPL 2021 season, which they finished as table-toppers, doesn’t matter and that the side will have to rebuild once again.
“It doesn’t matter what we’ve done in the first half of the season. It’s been four months since when we played some really good cricket, so we really have to start again. We have to build ourselves as we go along in the tournament and make sure that we are playing our best cricket at the back end of the tournament. Our performance in the first half of the tournament was because of how well we played and how hard we worked, but I don’t think we played our best cricket,” the head coach gave a reality check.
Delhi Capitals will resume their campaign against Sunrisers Hyderabad on September 22.