NEW DELHI: Losing Kagiso Rabada owing to a back injury is a "massive loss" at the business end but Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting is banking on New Zealand pacer Trent Boult's experience in the upcoming Indian Premier League playoffs.
Rabada, the Purple Cap holder so far with 25 wickets from 12 games, will return home after Cricket South Africa decided to call him back as a precautionary measure and give him time to recover ahead of the ODI World Cup in the United Kingdom.
Rabada's absence will thus massive affect the balance of Delhi Capitals, who will be aiming to win their last league game against Rajasthan Royals Saturday, to give themselves two shots in the knock-out stages.
"It was a decision which was taken out of our hands. It was a decision that Cricket South Africa made. He (Rabada) had a sore lower back in the last couple of games and after our last home game here, it got a little worse. So CSA took the decision as a precautionary measure to ensure that he is fit for the World Cup," Ponting told reporters on the eve of their final league game against Rajasthan Royals here Saturday.
The former Australian captain feels that it is indeed a massive loss considering the impact Rabada has had on the rechristened Delhi franchise's massive turnaround.
"It's a massive loss obviously but it's a loss that we can cover. We have someone like Trent Boult, who is a world-class fast bowler. He had a terrific season for the Daredevils (erstwhile) last year. With him coming to the side now, we think we can cover for the loss of Rabada quite well."
Playing his first game of the season against Chennai Super Kings the other night, Boult was impressive during his first three overs before Mahendra Singh Dhoni blasted him in the final over as he went for 37 in four.
Admitting that death bowling would be a concern for Capitals in the absence of Rabada, Ponting has asked the other bowlers of the team to raise up their hands and own the responsibility.
"Rabada has held the ship up a lot with his death bowling in this tournament.
So now, we have to find out the guys who can step in.
There is going to be opportunities for others, whether it is Trent or Morris or Ishant or one of our spinners," he said.
"To have a very good death bowler in the team is a great asset and we need to make sure that the guys we have in the squad, their skill is up to scratch for the remaining few games we have."
Delhi Capitals were handed a 80-run hammering by CSK in their last game and Ponting said the "wake-up call" couldn't have come at a better time for his side.
"We have played excellent cricket in the first 5 or 6 weeks of the tournament. The boys are aware of what they are capable of. I have spoken to the boys after the game the other night.
Delhi Capitals is currently lying at the third spot with 16 points from 13 games and a win on Saturday can lift them up to the second spot but the net run-rate will be an issue with Mumbai Indians having a match left against KKR.
"We still have a lot to play for. We need to win this game to give ourselves a chance to finish one or two. For us there is plenty to play for. Every game is difficult to win. We are on the same boat. Rajasthan have nothing to lose and they are going to come out all guns blazing and we too have nothing to lose either," Ponting said.
Ponting backed Rishabh Pant's approach and once again reiterated that he would never ask the youngster to change his style of play.
"As a coach, I am not going to stop Rishabh Pant from playing his shots. He has to play with complete freedom. I am very confident that Rishabh will end the tournament on a high note."