Dubai: Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly, two of the best cricketing brains who form the think tank for Delhi Capitals in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), are upbeat about the new-look team turning a corner this year. “It is a fresh start for all of us. We have a good blend of youth and experience in the squad, and if us guys (Ganguly and him) work really well together and do right thing by the players, we can achieve some pretty special things this season,” former Australia skipper Ponting said.
During a joint media interaction in New Delhi on Tuesday, former India captain Ganguly said that Delhi have not won the title before and that he believes “it has to start somewhere” and “feels this will be the season”.
Ponting, who has been serving as the head coach of the Delhi-based franchise since last season, said: “We have had a reshuffle in all departments in the IPL Auction this time around, and with the support of our owners, we have managed to get on board several quality players in the team. Our aim is to win the IPL, and if we can manage the players and the combinations well throughout the tournament, it will turn out to be a very successful season for the Capitals.”
The three-time World Cup winner, Ponting took over as the head coach of the JSW and GMR co-owned franchise in January 2018, but saw his team finish at the bottom of the points table in his first season in charge. However, the 44-year-old Aussie believes that his team have enough depth this season to excel. “I think we have various options when it comes to all three aspects of the game,” he said. “We have great Indian batters in the team, and have managed to pick a few all-rounders. Our spin department also has variety and the pace attack looks very complete. In IPL, you do need to have great flexibility and we have players who can play in different positions.”
Ganguly, who created quite a stir by joining the team as an adviser, said his main job will be to provide support to Ponting. “Ricky will be leading the team from the front, and it is my job to help him in the best possible way to prepare the players well for the matches,” he said. “Our one main goal this season is to win the title, and we will do everything to study the performances of the players and make sure they are prepared to take on the challenges. It is an exciting season ahead for us, and we can’t wait for the season to get started.”
The Shreyas Iyer-led Capitals begin their season against Mumbai Indians on March 24 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai and will be playing their first home match on March 26 as they take on defending champions Chennai Super Kings at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.
Both Ganguly and Ponting believed that Delhi star Rishabh Pant could be the answer to India’s woes as he has the temperament and talent to do the role in England.
“Look at how Pant played in the last IPL. In ODIs, Pant is coming in and going out because M.S. Dhoni is there and that doesn’t help. Pant is your future. For the next 10 years you will see a lot of him. He will be a huge asset for the Indian team,” Ganguly said.
Echoing the sentiments, Ponting added: “I would be picking him in the Indian team as the batsman for No. 4 as he can win you the game with his talent. We want him to focus on IPL because if the boys do well they will get a call up for the World Cup.”
Ganguly said the Indian Premier League (IPL) will decide the No. 4 slot. “Many choices are there but I think the IPL will in a way decide who will get that position. I had said (Cheteshwar) Pujara because he has been in good form. I saw (Rahul) Dravid do the role when I was captain. If you don’t have an option you can try him. Pant or (Ambati) Rayudu could be an option. We can give our opinion, but somewhere I feel Kohli knows who it should be.”
— With inputs from agencies