Dubai, Sep 20 (IANS) Delhi Capitals (DC) coach Ricky Ponting expects his players to “do right by the fans” and give their best in the face of the challenges that come with playing in the highly competitive Indian Premier League (IPL) amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
DC face Kings XI Punjab in their first match of the season on Sunday in Dubai.
In a pre-tournament press conference held virtually on Saturday, Ponting said that the players would have to keep in mind the support they would get in India.
“We know that we would have great support all around India, certainly in Delhi. We just have to make sure that we are doing right by the fans and spectators. So far, the coaching group has done a good job to get the players prepared and now it is up to all of us to make sure we are ready to for the first game tomorrow,” said the former Australia captain.
The 45-year-old former batsman said that the season would be significantly different from anything that the players have experienced earlier, stating the lead-up to the tournament itself had been different. “It’s going to be different, everything about our preparations so far have been completely different anyway,” Ponting said.
“We have done about three and a half weeks of training leading in to the tournament. The boys and all the staff have been under strict Covid protocols which has been unusual and we haven’t got around to playing our first game yet.”
However, Ponting expects the players to compensate for the energy normally provided by the fans by creating a favourable atmosphere. “Playing in front of an empty stadium will be different but I think once we do start, it will be about how our group play and create an atmosphere and energy around the ground instead of needing a crowd to lift us up,” he said.
On the ban on use of saliva during games, Ponting said he reckoned shining the ball did not affect a T20 game as much as it did a Test match situation.
“We’re having a health and safety meeting later this afternoon, where our doctors and physio will take about measures we need to take. Use of saliva is a habit — and I’ve spoken to the manager and I know that there are hefty fines. We are still a bit unsure on certain things — for example if sweat is allowed? But we will be briefed later today and I’m sure once games start, players will be aware of what they can do and what they can’t,” he said.