Ricky Ponting rues lack of consistency from DD batsmen

The Delhi Daredevils coach admitted the batting failed to fire when needed, barring Rishabh Pant.

Ricky Ponting said that Delhi Daredevils could have been a threat to the leading teams if it was consistent.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

When the Delhi Daredevils management decided to overhaul the entire set-up, right from the coaching and support staff to the players for the 11th edition of the IPL, it had hoped to change the long-standing disappointing trend of finishing in the bottom half.

Chief coach Ricky Ponting was part of that overhaul, including captain Gautam Gambhir, but the season didn't exactly pan out as they would have liked. While Gambhir stepped down midway, Ponting came under criticism for selection decisions.

On Sunday, after DD won its final league match against the mighty Mumbai Indians to end on a high, Ponting admitted there were lapses from the side in crucial moments that cost them games but insisted that all the decisions were taken in the best interest of the team.

'Tough draw'

“The fact of the matter is that we had a tough draw, we had five games in a row away of which we won only one. We knew debuting 17-year old kids with our backs to the wall wasn't probably the right way to go about it. So we played more experienced players in those big games, hoping we could still qualify. And up until two weeks ago, we did have a chance. We blew a game, may be against SRH, but I think we got the selections right with our Indian talent,” Ponting said.

Read: IPL spinners weaving an injury web around themselves

While he praised Rishabh Pant — the current orange cap holder as the top-scorer this season so far — Ponting did admit the rest of the DD batting failed to get going when needed. “It has been outstanding season for Rishabh but we needed more contribution from our top-order batsmen if we had to have a shot at the title this year. We did not get consistency from our batting group to be up there with the leading teams in the tournament,” Ponting said.

Read: 'Quality of local talent in India better than any other country'

The one constant criticism of Ponting has been his persistence with Glenn Maxwell despite a disappointing season with both bat and ball but the former Australian captain defended his decision to keep playing his compatriot. However, his defence of Maxwell did border on absurd.

“The thing that hurt him the most I think, to be honest, was how well Rishabh played. When we went to the auction table, I had Glenn pencilled in as our No. 4 batsman for the tournament. He missed the first game with Aaron Finch's wedding, which meant that Rishabh batted at four and did well. When Glenn came in, he was at five, which isn't a position he has played too much. We stuck with him because we were taking every game as a final and wanted the best team to put it on the way to winning. We felt Glenn was our best chance of being a match-winner,” he tried to explain.

Praising the players for winning the last two games against two former champions – CSK and MI – Ponting insisted it was the result of all the hard work done throughout the season. “If you look back, there were so many games we could have won, some we should have won, where we were not able to play our best cricket in crucial times and that cost us. But I am proud the way the boys finished on a high,” he said.