NEW DELHI: Australian legend Ricky Ponting, who was appointed head coach of Delhi Daredevils ahead of IPL 2018, has made an alarming statement on the poor form of allrounder Glenn Maxwell following the beleaguered franchise’s final match of the tournament.
At Rs 9 crore, Maxwell was Daredevils’ costliest buy of January’s player auction but was one of the IPL’s biggest flops managing 169 runs from 12 innings with a highest score of 47 at a strike-rate of 140.83. When asked about the Victorian’s poor form on Sunday, Ponting responded by equating his lack of runs to the Australian’s quick detour to attend Aaron Finch’s wedding (he was Master of Ceremonies) instead of appearing in Daredevils’ opening game, as well as wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant’s outstanding batting.
“To be honest, the thing that hurt him most is how well Rishabh played,” said Ponting. “When we went to our auction table, we picked our group of players and I must admit before our first game, I had Glenn Maxwell pencilled in as our No. 4 batsman for the tournament. He missed the first game for personal reasons with Aaron Finch’s wedding, which meant that Rishabh batted at No. 4 in game one and played well.”
Oddly, that statement is not true. Pant batted at No 5 in that match, with Tamil Nadu allrounder Vijay Shankar going a place ahead of him at 4 and scoring 13 off 13 balls. Once Maxwell returned, his scores were poor and his batting position rarely settled: as opener, he made 17, 2 and 22; from No 4, scores of 13 and 5; from the fifth spot, 47, 4, 27, 6 and 5; from one lower at 6, he made 9; and in his one innings at No 3, a score of 12.
“I have spent a lot time with Glenn over the years. It was only a few weeks before this tournament came around that I spent the triangular series with him with the Australian team and did a lot of work with him there. He was actually man of the series in that tournament. So coming over here, he was in good form and having played a little bit of T20 cricket,” added Ponting on Maxwell.
Pant, in comparison, reeled off 684 runs – which is the most scored by a wicketkeeper in any IPL season – to currently hold the Orange Cap for most runs this season. The 20-year-old batted eight times at No 4, four times at No 3 and twice at No 5.
Ponting lauded Pant’s sensational batting form in IPL 2018 after his statement on Maxwell. “He has been outstanding, it has been an outstanding season for him. He is obviously wearing the Orange Cap right now. It’s great recognition for the personal season that Rishabh’s had but across the board, we needed more even contributions from a few more of our top-order batsmen if we were going to be a threat to challenge for the title this year,” said the 43-year-old, who was previously head coach for Mumbai Indians.