IPL 2022: Akshar Patel reveals how Ponting's pep-talk did wonders for COVID-hit DC team

Six members of DC squad including two overseas cricketers tested positive for COVID-19.

Akshar Patel | BCCI-IPL

Delhi Capitals (DC) found themselves in a very difficult situation after six members of their squad, including two foreign cricketers, tested positive for COVID-19 before their IPL 2022 match against Punjab Kings (PBKS) on Wednesday (April 20).

The 32nd match of the ongoing IPL 2022 between Delhi Capitals (DC) and Punjab Kings (PBKS) was shifted from Pune’s MCA Stadium to the Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, and the match was given a go-ahead barely an hour before the start of play, DC wicketkeeper-batter Tim Seifert tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday morning.

Despite all the challenges, the COVID-19 hit DC managed to pull off one of the most convincing victories of the ongoing IPL 2022, as they first 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 (57) left, by 9 wickets on Wednesday.

Read Also: IPL 2022: There was nervousness but we were focused on the game - DC skipper Rishabh Pant after win over PBKS

After the match, DC all-rounder Akshar Patel, who picked up two crucial wickets, including the in-form Liam Livingstone, said a lot of the credit for DC’s comprehensive win over PBKS must go to the head coach, Ricky Ponting.

He further revealed that Ponting gave a pep talk to the entire DC squad hours before the match, and it worked wonders in lifting the morale of the side and helped his side stay focused.

Patel said at the post-match press conference: “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.”

The left-arm spinner added, “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.”

Meanwhile, Akshar was also happy with teammate Kuldeep Yadav's return to form, saying the DC team management gave the wrist-spinner the much-needed confidence to thrive with the ball.

Patel said, “As 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.”

He signed off by saying, “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.”

(With PTI Inputs)


By Rashmi Nanda - 21 Apr, 2022

    Share Via