Rishabh Pant, the young wicketkeeper-batsman, will be making his Indian Premier League (IPL) captaincy debut via Delhi Capitals’ (DC) opening fixture on Saturday (April 10) in Mumbai against Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
Pant, who has replaced injured Shreyas Iyer on the leadership front for IPL 2021, said during an online presser sitting alongside DC head coach Ricky Ponting on Friday (April 9) that he is taking help from the team’s senior cricketers to devise strategies on the field.
This senior group includes the likes of Pant’s India teammate Shikhar Dhawan, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane, who all have previous experience of captaining a team in the IPL.
“I have been talking to the senior players like Shikhar Dhawan, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane about the fields we can set and other strategic decisions for the team,” Pant was quoted saying in a press release on the eve of DC’s IPL 2021 opener versus CSK.
“I have been talking to Ricky and our bowling coach James Hopes as well. There’s a good mix of seniors and juniors in our squad and I think with the help of Ricky, we can do something different this year.”
Will Keep Things Simple; Have An Idea On How To Captain DC As A Wicketkeeper: Rishabh Pant
Pant also said he will be looking to keep things simple and not take extra pressure on himself just because he will be captaining the team now. He added that his experience as a wicketkeeper on the field will come in handy.
“I haven’t thought about the fact that it’s my first match as captain in the IPL,” he said. “I am just going to keep things simple and give my 100 percent. You get a good idea about setting fields as a wicketkeeper and now as captain I will be making the changes in the field directly. So, there’s not going to be much of a difference for me.”
📹 | Ladies and gentlemen, we've got your skipper @RishabhPant17 and Head Coach @RickyPonting with everything you need to know ahead of our season opener tomorrow 💙#YehHaiNayiDilli #IPL2021 #CapitalsUnplugged #CSKvDC @OctaFx @TajMahalMumbai pic.twitter.com/WzONaJsGMh
— Delhi Capitals (@DelhiCapitals) April 9, 2021
Legendary Australian captain and DC coach, Ponting, said facing the three-time champions CSK straightaway will be a massive challenge, regardless of the two team’s contrasting fortunes last season in UAE.
While DC had their best-ever finish to an IPL when they reached the final of the tournament, CSK endured their worst-ever campaign, being eliminated in the league stage for the very first time.
“Although we’ve got a slightly different squad, we expect to play better as a group and achieve some better results. So, for us, Chennai Super Kings is just game one. We need to approach it with the right attitude and play well,” said Ponting.
“Hopefully, win that game and move onto the second game. But we know that we’ll have to play well to win.”
The coach also gave his views on why CSK couldn’t manage to overcome their issues in IPL 2020. Ponting mentioned how stalwart Suresh Raina was a big miss for the MS Dhoni led side.
“The Chennai Super Kings have been one of the most successful teams in the history of the IPL. They have got a great leader and a great squad of players. They have always managed to play consistent cricket,” he said.
“Last year, they were probably disappointed with the way their season worked out, but I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that Suresh Raina wasn’t there for the entire tournament. He comes back to the squad this year, which is almost like a new recruit for them.”
From DC’s perspective, Ponting said 10-11 days of preparation leading into IPL 2021 is good enough and that his side won’t be giving any excuses.
“I am really happy about how our last 10-11 days have gone. There will be certainly no excuses from us about how we perform in Game 1.”
“We’ve got a great group of players, who are hungry and excited for another challenge for us as a franchise and a team. So, I am excited to see how the boys play tomorrow,” Ponting concluded.