‘There are going to be days when Pant will make mistakes because he is flamboyant and relies on instincts. As a team, you have to take that in your stride because of the value he has in winning matches on his own.’

 

It is probably for the first time since the inception of the Indian Premier League (IPL) that the rest of the teams are finding it  difficult to halt Delhi Capital’s winning chariot. Their batting and bowling have clicked together and won them matches. Colin Ingram has been instrumental in his performances for Delhi and thinks his team can beat any opponent on a given day. Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, he shares his thoughts on who can replace Kagiso Rabada in the team and why one should not underestimate the value of players like Rishabh Pant.

Q. Do you think Delhi Capitals (DC) can win the IPL this time around and if that happens is there any preferred opponent you would like to face in the finals?

A. We are showing through the season that we are consistent. I think we have not played our perfect game yet, which also means we are building and building through the season. I am really excited to see what we can do in the back end. This is really where you have to stand up to the challenge and the test. I am really looking forward to the next couple of games and what we can do. Going by the season we have had so far, we know we can beat anyone. So,yes, really looking forward to the challenge ahead.

Q. Kagiso Rabada’s absence in the last game proved fatal for the team in the match against Chennai Super King (CSK) as it clearly seemed that the team was lacking a death bowler. Now that he will not be playing in the playoffs because of an injury, how difficult it’s going to get for the DC to get a strike bowler as good as him?

A. Obviously, it’s a big loss. He has been in a great form. In that way, it is always difficult to replace an in-form bowler with another bowler. If you look at someone like Trent Boult…he hasn’t had much game time this year. Firstly, he has got a terrific record for New Zealand. Secondly, if you see how well he did in the IPL last year, he has a good track record and is a tough character. It’s a big loss, missing a big player like KG who has been wearing a purple cap and bowling well. But I am really excited for the opportunity. Trent has worked hard in the nets during this season and playing well. He is desperate to come in and make a big impact.

Q. What has been the role of legends like Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly in the team? Tell us what’s it like to share the same dressing room with them and the kind of inputs they must have shared with you?

A. Both of them had massive careers in terms of cricket and spent many years studying the game. We get a lot of knowledge from them. It’s always good to have them around. They keep picking up on small things all the time. On the other side, what I have really appreciated and enjoyed is their leadership qualities. Both have been captains of their country and they are big personalities. They often bring that in the team speeches that they make. It sounds like you are listening to a captain which is really nice to be a part of in our dressing room.

Q. What is your role in the team? What kind of message has been given to you in terms of the kind of role you need to play?

A. The role this season hasn’t been ideal in my own career but if there is less numbers of balls available, it means the top order has done really well. At stages, I just have to come in and try making an impact. I let the game dictate to me what I need to do. If I need to get runs quickly, I get it quickly and if I need to build a partnership, I get in and try to do that. I still feel that there is going to be an opportunity somewhere for me to be the Man of the Match in the next couple of games…may be in the playoff games or in the finals. You never know…I am hungry for that opportunity. Hopefully, in the next few games, I get a chance to show people what I am all about…win one of those awards… and win a game for Delhi.

Q. Rishabh Pant is an extraordinary talent and he has played some good knocks for Delhi. But there were times when he has thrown away his wicket. Your thoughts on him as a talent and how he has contributed to the team performance-wise?

A. Clearly, on his day, he can single-handedly win the game for us. I don’t think you want to underestimate the value of players like that. If we look at how many matches we need to win to qualify in a particular season, Rishabh will be involved in winning three to four games on his own…that shouldn’t be undervalued. There are going to be days when he will make mistakes because he is flamboyant and relies on instincts. As a team, you have to take that in your stride because of the value he has in winning matches on his own. I think sometimes we forget that he plays international cricket and his career has developed very quickly. Even senior players make mistakes. He is only 21-years-old. I see a massive future for him. The thing I like about him is his strong character and he is always up for the fight and wins games for the team. His game will only grow from here if he stays true to those characteristics. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching him bat and learning from his as well.

Q. A word on Shreyas Iyer, who happens to be the youngest captain in the league. How do you see him growing as a leader?

A. The exciting thing to me is that as a young captain, he has done well with the bat. A lot of people always feel that captaincy affects your game negatively or positively. I think that it has been a massive positive for him. He has walked around confidently and batted with real purpose and in doing so we have seen his leadership grow. It always helps. When you are doing a good job and winning games, it helps in your confidence as a leader. I have seen him through the season just grow and grow. It’s excellent to watch him develop over the season.

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