New Delhi, September 19, 2020: Multiple times World Cup Winner, Former Captain of the Australian Cricket team and current Head Coach of Delhi Capitals (DC), Ricky Ponting spoke to InsideSport’s “Amstrad Face 2 Face Cricket Series” show in a build-up to their first match of the IPL 2020 season where they face the KXIP Punjab on Sunday. Ponting in his discussion on the show augured his views about life in lockdown, DC’s team combination, Rishabh Pant and Ajinkya Rahane’s role in the team and current conversation surrounding the Mankad rule and Black Lives Matter movement.
Ponting started the conversation by discussing how life back home in Australia has been when it comes to spending time with family during these 6-7 months of no sporting activity. He said, “It has been great to have 6-7 months back at home. It’s unusual for me as I don’t get this much time back home. I am usually travelling during this time because of cricket. Victoria at the moment is in Stage 4 of Lockdown because of the virus and it was really difficult for me to leave my family behind and come here. But I feel really good that I am in UAE and a part of the IPL.”
He also followed it by speaking about his relationship with Sourav Ganguly – the now BCCI President. “When he became the BCCI President I was the first one to wish him. He and I have a great working relationship since our playing days and we have worked together at Delhi Capitals as well last season. I think BCCI has done a brilliant job putting together the IPL and it was only a few months back that I was discussing the possibilities of the IPL taking place with the DC management.”
He also commented on the SOP of staying in a bio-bubble saying, “The restrictions and protocols have been very tight and probably hasn’t been that enjoyable for the players but as we get some matches under our belt I think everyone is going to settle down”
On being asked by the anchor about the team combination Head Coach of Delhi Capitals was very categorical and said, “We have a very good squad in place and the last season was probably a breakout season for the team with the rebranding and the change of name. The cricket that we played last year was outstanding. The batting side of things especially when it comes to Indian players is much sorted. We have added some players like Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis and Alex Carey as overseas batsmen.” He further added, “Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje are to be honest our weapons and Nortje has been incredibly impressive since he has been here and we have added Ravichandran Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane two very experienced Indian players. I am really happy with the squad.”
Ponting though said, “Every team though will be telling themselves that they have a great squad but only the one who manages themselves well in crucial situations is going to win the IPL.”
On being asked about the role that he wants Rishabh Pant and Ajinkya Rahane are to play? Ponting spoke like a true Head Coach saying, “Rishabh Pant knows about his responsibilities but at the same time, he isn’t a person you would want to push too hard. I am very hard on him when it comes to the way he goes about his batting and preparations. He is the sort of guy you can’t train much he will perform when the situation comes around.” On Rahane he said, “Ajinkya isn’t an automatic selection but his preparation has been great. I have worked closely with him to improve his T20 batting but I have already had the conversation with him regarding this and as far as the first match goes he is certainly in the mix of things.”
He also said that DC is going to have a fluid batting order throughout the season.
While speaking about the fast bowling department and options in the death overs he said, “Anrich Nortje has been one of the most impressive fast bowlers since he has arrived and he can ball a variety of deliveries and with Rabada, Ishant Sharma and Mohit Sharma and there haven’t been many through the history then closing out death overs than Mohit Sharma, you can also add Kemo Paul to the mix who did a great job for us last year. Marcus Stoinis has been used by Australia to bowl in the death overs and Ashwin we are pretty much covered. We cannot play all of them in one game so the makeup becomes very important so that we have enough options during the power play, middle and death overs.”
Finally, the question that has been doing rounds that is around the Mankad rule was posed on “Amstrad Face 2 Face Cricket Series “as well. What if the last over of the championship-winning match is being bowled by Ashwin and there is an opportunity for Mankad to benefit the team what will be your advice to Ashwin? Ponting tackled the question in a witty manner and said, “I am not going to ball Ashwin in the last over of the game. We have spoken about it and I have told him my expectation that I wouldn’t want him to Mankad.”
He closed the discussion with his further viewpoint on the rule saying, “Although the Mankad is a very simple playing law in the game. It is one law I am not happy with and I am a part of the rules and law committee with the MCC. What we have to do is to stop batsmen from cheating which they tend to do in the death overs of the game. Umpires need to be a little cautious as well and need to get a signal in the ear from the third umpire to let the batsman know not to be cheating.”
The former Australian Captain was finally asked about what he thinks about the English and Australian Team not taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement and Aaron Finch’s comment in regards to the same. Ponting said, “I think what Finch was trying to say that people need more education on the issue before taking a proper stance on it or putting across a protest. It’s not just about the Australian Cricket team, it’s about Australian cricket and it’s about the world game. It’s a huge issue in world society at this point and as cricketers we should do what we can to help the cause or around that cause, we should certainly be talking about it.”