Ricky Ponting seeks fresh start with Delhi Daredevils

The new head coach isn’t bothered by the team’s disappointing IPL record.

Delhi Daredevils’ new captain Gautam Gambhir (left) shakes hands with the new head coach Ricky Ponting as Delhi Daredevils’ CEO Hemant Dua looks on, during a press meet on Thursday.   -  Shanker Chakravarty

It may be a perennial underdog with a third-place finish being its best-ever performance in the 10 Indian Premier League seasons so far. But with an aggressive captain-coach combination (Gautam Gambhir and Ricky Ponting), the Delhi Daredevils management has tried to showcase a different attitude to perhaps change the narrative this time around.

Even though most of the youngsters in the team ranks have spoken of the “aggression” that Ponting brings into the dressing room, the former Australian captain himself insisted he has not spoken the word so far. “I don't think I have been aggressive so far, I haven't even started yet,” he said here on Thursday, evoking laughter before continuing.

Read: Ponting refuses to blame 'culture' for ball-tampering act

“I think I have been more motivational than anything else, I have tried to get my point on how important team culture and environment is, how important hard work is to be well-prepared for every situation that might arise in the game. I am here to win the IPL with this group and get them as well prepared as I can for every challenge and there might be a bit more aggression as the season goes on,” he said.

‘Never-say-die attitude’

Ponting, however, did yield by suggesting aggression was a good thing. “It is our (Gambhir and his) natural instincts to get ourself into a fight on the field, by which I mean as a contest against the bowler and the opposition and win it. I love seeing that in players, it means they are competitive and know what they have to do to win games. See, a lot will be spoken about being aggressive with me as coach but we haven't even spoken about it so far. What we have done is talk about high intensity, high energy, never-say-die attitude kind of cricket that hopeful will get us across the line,” he declared.

Asked about the shadow of the team's disappointing past, Ponting refused to give much credence to it. “I don't care what happened in the past, it is done. We have a fresh group of players and a fresh leadership group and it is my job, Gautam's job, the management’s job and the players’ job to give it the best crack possible,” he said.

Homecoming ‘always special’

Gambhir, on his part, said he was looking forward to completing his ‘unfinished business’ with the franchise. Having started with Delhi Daredevils in the first three years, Gambhir went on to lift the title with Kolkata Knight Riders twice before returning to his home ground. “It is always special to come back to where you started. You always want to win for any franchise you play for and I have got another opportunity to do so for the same franchise I started with,” he said.