Delhi Capitals will gain from Ashwin, Rahane’s experience: Ponting

While complementing new Delhi Capitals recruits Ravichandran Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane, team head coach Ricky Ponting has said the duo will add a lot of experience to the team that has still to win the IPL title in 12 attempts so far.

Speaking after a three-hour net session here on Tuesday evening, Ponting lavished praise on off-spinner Ashwin and batting ace Rahane. “Both of them are class players, and have been long-term Indian players. Ashwin has been one of the most successful spinners in the IPL history, and Rahane has led Rajasthan for a long time as well,” he said.

“They have all sorts of skill, class, and experience which they’ll add to our squad. We all know how important experience is in T20 cricket, and we understand that. We’ve got a young captain in Shreyas, but to have those older, more experienced minds on the ground will help us a lot,” Ponting said.

A very warm and humid Tuesday evening at the ICC Academy in Dubai saw Capitals train under Ponting for the first time this season. The Australian legend said the conditions were draining but his team was happy to be back together.

“The attitude from the start has been amazing, and today was no exception. It was hot and quite draining for the players but coming off on the back of a good season last year, you would expect the mood to be upbeat – and I was delighted to see that and it felt awesome to be back in the team environment, and I think there’s no better place than to be in the Delhi Capitals camp at the moment,” said Ponting.

Weather conditions will be a challenge this season for franchises, which could be overcome by managing training sessions better, Ponting said.

“We’ve got a smaller squad so I want to sort of manage our training sessions differently than we did last year. I’ve made it clear to the boys that we are not going to over-train in the first three weeks. I believe our preparation leading up to the first game is critical. I want to make sure that physically, technically, and tactically the boys are peaking for the first game,” he said.

“It is an unusual time we have got — having three weeks — I think we had slotted in about 20 training sessions before our first game, which in my opinion are too many, so we are just going to see how the boys are shaping up after every training session and then take it from there,” added the 45-year-old.

Commenting on how he intends to maintain the positive team environment from last season, Ponting said he wants his players to remember why they were successful last season. “Last year, I had as much fun as I’ve ever had with a cricket team, and I want to make sure we can replicate that this season as well. I think it’s really important that when you have success, you understand why you have it. I’ll be banking on the guys we still have from last year — it’s important for them to remember the positives. If they can impose that on the younger and new guys in the team, before you know it, you’re going to have this really infectious attitude around the team again which is what I’m all about as a coach,” said the veteran former Aussie captain.

“With all the protocols involved, the teams that manage themselves the best throughout the tournament, I think, will go a long way. What I mean by management is not managing the players, but managing our time as well, and finding things and activities which we can do together as a group,” added Ponting.

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