With Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings locking horns in the opening match on September 19, the IPL fever is slowly and steadily gripping the fans and the cricketers alike. The players have already assembled in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and are seen practising after a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The former cricketers and experts have also reached UAE to be a part of the broadcasting team and the latest to join was former England captain Kevin Pietersen.
Pietersen, who was recently commentating in the now-concluded T20I series between England and Australia, posted a picture on Instagram after his arrival in Dubai. "From a bubble in the UK to a bubble in Dubai...! I love that we have cricket back and as always very excited about working on the @iplt20," he wrote.
He also went on to predict the winner of IPL 2020. "Who’s winning? I hope Delhi!" he added in his post.
Meanwhile, Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting has focussed on preparing fast bowlers steadily and also ensured that the players don't have to push themselves too much in the challenging weather conditions in the UAE, said the team's chief of talent scout development and former wicket keeper Vijay Dahiya.
"How Ricky Ponting has planned the nets sessions is good, he's focused on preparing the fast bowlers steadily and we have also brought in some net bowlers to make sure there isn't much workload on our players going into the season in these tough conditions," he is quoted as saying in a DC press statement.
"I think it makes a huge difference when you have people in your coaching staff who have played the sport before. It generally helps them think like an athlete and also helps with the players getting to learn a lot from them, and getting that mentality also."
Dahiya said that the team has put in "optional nets sessions and have given the freedom to players to slowly get back into rhythm."
"That has resulted in the players doing well in training already. Our planning has been such that these players can stay in rhythm during and towards the end of the season as well - that is the most important thing that they are fresh both mentally and physically throughout the season," he said.
The Shreyas Iyer-led side has a bunch impressive Indian players including Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane and R Ashwin. Along with foreign players Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Shimron Hetmyer and Kagiso Rabada, Delhi Capitals is a team to watch out for.
Delhi Capitals squad: Shreyas Iyer (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer, Prithvi Shaw, Marcus Stoinis, Lalit Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Keemo Paul, Daniel Sams, Alex Carey and Rishabh Pant (wicket-keepers), Kagiso Rabada, Sandeep Lamichhane, Ishant Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Avesh Khan, Tushar Deshpande, Harshal Patel, Amit Mishra, and Anrich Nortje
Support Staff: Ricky Ponting (head coach), Mohammad Kaif (assistant coach), Samuel Badree (spin bowling coach), Ryan Harris (bowling coach), Sriram Somayajula (team analyst), Dhananjay Kaushik (assistant physiotherapist), Rajinikanth Sivagnanam (strength and conditioning coach), Patrick Farhart (physiotherapist), and Vijay Dahiya (head talent scout)
(With inputs from IANS)