Ahead of the Delhi Capitals’ Indian Premier League (IPL) season opener against the Mumbai Indians, coach Ricky Ponting made it clear that the rebranded franchise hasn’t heard anything from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on the workload management of India’s One-Day International (ODI) World Cup-bound players.
“We have had no direct information on them at all. If we look through our squad, I mean if you talk about workload management stuff, you think that the batsmen will be right to play all the games. I’m not sure what the directive from the BCCI is going to be on that exactly, but it will be the fast bowlers they will be trying to look after,” Ponting said.
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The former Australia captain also admitted that the Delhi Capitals will have to take care of pacer Ishant Sharma, who is a World Cup probable. But he was confident that Sharma would be available for the entire tournament. “Ishant has sort of forced himself into that squad. So we’re just going to make sure that we look after him on the way through. Hopefully, some common sense comes into it and someone like Ishant is available for selection every game,” Ponting said.
Asked about the availability of foreign players keeping the World Cup in mind, Ponting said: “We do, actually. Obviously Chris Morris is not here. He’s got another T20 (Twenty20) game to play for South Africa in a couple of days’ time. So I think he’ll probably arrive on the 25th for us. As far as the leave dates (are concerned), all the New Zealanders are here until the end. So we’ve got the New Zealanders, West Indians and South Africans predominantly as our overseas players.”
The Delhi franchise, which was earlier known as the Delhi Daredevils, has never made it to the IPL finals, but Ponting isn’t thinking about the past. “What has happened in the past has happened. The whole vibe around the franchise for the last two weeks has been positive. We have (been) reborn, we have new owners, we have got new colours, new logo, and everything about the start of the new season has been fresh, new start for Delhi Capitals,” he said.
“Our preparations for the last two weeks has been strong. (The) boys worked particularly hard before we travelled here, and any who were here and who watched us train yesterday would understand how hard we trained. We made things little light today, boys are fit, energetic and ready to go for tomorrow,” Ponting said.
The coach also admitted that in a tournament like the IPL, proper management is extremely important. “(The) time leading into the first game, it is just about the hardest time to manage, right through the IPL. The reason why I say this, you can use us as the example. Trent Boult and Colin Munro – they have flown in at midnight last night, (Kagiso) Rabada came in at 2 a.m. last morning, which is not ideal. When you try to create a winning culture, ideally you want all those players to have around the team for a long time heading into the first game,” Ponting said.
“Every franchise goes through exactly the same way. You have to make sure that you pay attention to details, put things right, keep a positive environment round the team, so that they can go and play positive cricket,” the Aussie said.
While he feels that Delhi has the best bunch of Indian batsmen, he also made it clear that he hasn’t spoken to wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who did not have a memorable outing in the last couple of ODIs against Australia earlier this month. “...he’s a very positive young man. And I didn’t want to bring up any negative stuff that’s happened in the last couple of weeks. That’s gone. He can’t change those things that have happened. All I can do is prepare them well, and all the players can do is play their absolute best and give their 100 per cent every opportunity they get,” he said.