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Indian Premier League 2024

Ponting: Delhi Capitals have home venue challenges, not sure of the kind of wickets we’re going to get

Ricky Ponting, head coach, Delhi Capitals
by Wisden Staff 5 minute read

Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting is apprehensive about the home pitches his team is likely to get at the 2024 Indian Premier League.

After finishing in the bottom three six seasons in a row, the Delhi Daredevils changed their name to Capitals in 2019, triggering a coincidental switch of fortune, making the IPL playoffs thrice in a row. This included a runners-up finish in 2020, their best ever show, and topping the league table in 2021.

However, they dropped to fifth place in 2022. In the absence of talismanic batter, wicketkeeper, and captain Rishabh Pant – who has been out since 2022 due to injuries sustained in a horrific car crash – they finished ninth out of ten teams in 2023.

They won only five of their 14 games, but a more telling statistic was their two wins in seven matches at their home venue, the Arun Jaitley Stadium, against Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

“Our batting was disappointing last year,” admitted Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting at an event in Melbourne. “A lot of the guys that we felt would be able to handle difficult conditions in Delhi, a spinning wicket a lot of the time, we weren’t good enough in those conditions.

“We’ve got some challenges with our home venue to be honest. We rock up every game, we’re not really sure exactly what sort of wicket we’re going to get. So, you’d go to the auction expecting you’re going to get one [kind] of surface and you rock up for five games, seven games there and you get five different pitches. So that does make it hard.”

Delhi are not the only franchise to voice concern over their home venue in the 2023 edition. During the competition, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Nitish Rana spoke on similar lines about the Eden Gardens pitch. Pitch curator Sujan Mukherjee cited examples of “teams like RCB and DC” who “do not talk or complain about home advantage” and “play on what is provided to them”.

However, Ponting also admitted that “we definitely lacked on batting quality last year, which is what we’ve tried to really improve on this year.”

Of the Delhi batters, only Rilee Rossouw (209 runs at 148) and Phil Salt (218 runs at 164) struck at above 140, but regular collapses forced David Warner to assume the anchor’s role match after match. For the 2024 edition, they drafted in big hitters Harry Brook and Tristan Stubbs.

“We’ve gone to the well with a couple of really highly talented young Indian players that we think that are ready to play straight away. That’s the thing about the IPL, it’s one year to the big auction so it’s not like you can really invest too much in these young blokes and hope to improve them overnight. You’ve got to get the best talent out there that you think’s ready to play. And we’ve got a few of those this year.”

Delhi’s new Indian acquisitions for 2024 include all-rounder Sumit Kumar, batters Ricky Bhui, Kumar Kushagra (both of whom keep wicket), Swastik Chhikara, and seam bowler Rasikh Dar.

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