Sport

IPL in UAE: Shreyas Iyer hopes to pick the brains of Rahane, Ashwin

IPL in UAE: Shreyas Iyer hopes to pick the brains of Rahane, Ashwin

Dubai: Having led Delhi Capitals into the 2019 IPL play-offs for the first time in seven years, skipper Shreyas Iyer is calling for ‘‘not one but many’’ consistent performances from his Rick Ponting-coached squad ahead of the 13th edition of the tournament. The tournament is scheduled for a September 19 start in the UAE.

On his IPL captaincy debut in 2018, Iyer smashed an unbeaten matchwinning knock of 93 off 40 deliveries against Kolkata Knight Riders and aims to continue to perform at a high-level with the support of his teammates, which he believes will be the key to success or failure.

“All pieces of the puzzle need to fall in the right place to be a champion team,” he was quoted in an interview. “The IPL is a long tournament and results keep going up and down invariably.The one thing that worked for us last season was how in each and every match, different players stepped up to the occasion and that was crucial to our success and will be key this year too.

“Having not just one consistent performer but many of them.”

Delhi have their work cut out if they hope to turn around their fortunes in the IPL after failing to make an impact since the Twenty20 tournament debuted in 2008, in which they lost to eventual champions Rajasthan Royals in the semi-finals.

However, with the recruitment of two other former IPL captains in R Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane to the side, Iyer believes that this could be a seminal, if challenging year, for the Capitals.

“It’s certainly very different from last season, but challenges excite me,” Iyer said. “As a captain, this is going to be certainly one of my most important assignments just because of how different the setting is. It is going to be very different, the key is to take it one day at a time.

Last season, the Capitals finished third at the end of the league stage with nine wins in 14 matches. They defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad in an Eliminator before losing against eventual runners-up Chennai Super Kings in the second qualifier.

Based on that improved performance, Iyer is looking forward to leading the new-look Capitals again with Ashwin and Rahane by his side. “Ashwin and Rahane add tremendous depth to our side and give Ricky and me options to be flexible with our playing XI depending on where we’re playing, who our opposition is and where we are placed in the tournament at a particular time,” he said.

“Also these are two individuals who are highly knowledgeable about the game and have captained IPL teams, so for me as captain, this is an opportunity to use all experience and reach out to them whenever I want to share or discuss anything at all.”

Iyer, whose parents are from Kerala and Managlore in South India, also highlighted the advantage of having someone like Ricky Ponting in his team’s corner. “I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to work with someone of his stature so closely,” he said. “He’s such a legend and makes everyone, from the seniormost to the newest guy feel at home and as a part of this unit. As a captain, he gives me freedom and that has helped me grow as a cricketer.”