NEW DELHI: Quite often, an unplanned break in the midst of a league can lead to a top team losing momentum once action resumes.
But both skipper Rishabh Pant and coach Rickey Ponting feel that the gap has actually helped the Delhi Capitals as they gear up to face the Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday.
One of the biggest reasons for this is the return of Shreyas Iyer, who could not play any part in the first phase due to a shoulder injury.
The return of the former skipper opens up a ton of possibilities for the franchise. Iyer’s batting skills aside, the balance of the team and the ability to play an extra overseas bowler are among the options available for the team management to tinker with.
“I am absolutely delighted to have Shreyas back in our line-up,” Ponting said in a press interaction on the eve of Capitals’ first match of the UAE leg.
“It was devastating for him and the team when he hurt his shoulder just before the start of the IPL earlier in the year. He is a world-class player, and he has been an exceptional player for Delhi Capitals for a long time now. Him slotting back into our line-up, I think it makes the make-up of our team look a little bit more complete."
“The first part of the tournament, as well as we played — we won six of our eight games — our overall balance didn’t quite feel like it was just right. But Shreyas coming back in now, it does give us the opportunity to play the two overseas fast bowlers, which we had [done] successfully in the past.”
Last season’s runners-up used Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje to great effect and with Steve Smith not exactly shining in Iyer’s position, the Delhi side can go back to using Iyer in his preferred No 3 role and it will free up the space for an an additional foreign bowler.
The only negative point for Delhi has been the performance of their domestic quick bowlers.
Avesh Khan emerged as the lone match-winner during the first phase as the rest of the Capitals’ fast men took just nine wickets.
Avesh’s success meant Capitals could afford to leave out Nortje but expect him to be back in the UAE.
DC topped the standings with six wins from eight matches and now are sitting in second spot, with 12 points.
On the other hand, Sunrisers are placed at the last spot, with just a solitary win from seven games and six losses.