‘Ricky Ponting said we have two options...’: Axar Patel reveals how a speech turned things for Covid-hit Delhi Capitals
DC all-rounder Axar Patel, who picked up two crucial wickets including the one of the in-form Liam Livingstone, said a lot of the credit for that must go to head coach Ricky Ponting and the speech that he gave.
Delhi Capitals were in a difficult scenario. Six members of their squad including two foreign cricketers had tested positive for Covid-19 before their IPL 2022 match against Punjab Kings. Even the venue for the match had to be changed. Despite all this, the Rishabh Pant-led side managed to pull off one of the most convincing victories of this year's IPL. They bowled out PBKS for 115 and then chased down the target in just 10.3 overs to achieve their biggest victory (in terms of balls left) by 9 wickets.
DC all-rounder Axar Patel, who picked up two crucial wickets including the one of the in-form Liam Livingstone, said a lot of the credit for that must go to head coach Ricky Ponting.
Axar said the former Australia captain gave a pep talk to the entire DC squad hours before the match, which helped them a lot.
"We were quarantined and we started practice two-three days after that, he (Ponting) told us we have two options. We have to play the match. You can think that there are positive cases, and the preparations aren't done. Or you can think all outside things are not in our hands and you should show commitment with regard to the effort and preparation," Axar said post-match press conference after the match on Wednesday.
"We were focusing on our game (and) we did our planning (accordingly). So that's it, that was the speech and that was our mindset," added the left-arm spinner.
Axar was also happy with teammate Kuldeep Yadav's return to form, saying the Delhi team management gave him the much needed confidence to prosper after a disappointing last IPL, where he represented Kolkata Knight Riders.
"Like you said, the atmosphere is very important. I had earlier said when he (Kuldeep) came, he needed confidence. After you don't play well for a season or two, you are less confident, so Rishabh (Pant), I and the coaching staff – Ricky (Ponting) gave him the confidence, which was crucial," Axar said.
"We gave him confidence in the practice match and he was told that he would play all the matches and doesn't need to take tension about his performance.
"When he knows that he is playing all the matches, he needs to focus on his bowling. And that is happening. He is now focusing on his bowling and the way he is taking wickets, it becomes easy for me to partner with him," he signed off.
(With PTI inputs)