IPL 2018 Ricky Ponting Delhi Daredevils Coach AFL
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting says IPL games are like AFL final.

Amid speculations of getting a coaching role with the national team, former Australia skipper was surprisingly roped in by Delhi Daredevils as their head coach for the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League.

During a commentary stint in the ongoing Big Bash League, the batting legend had himself revealed he was in talks with Cricket Australia over a potential coaching role, but nothing fruitful materialised since then before he signed up to spend another season in the IPL. And the reason behind that is IPL does not demand too much time from the coaches in addition to being arguably the biggest league in the world.

Comparing the IPL games with an AFL Grand Final, the legendary skipper told Cricket Australia website:

“It’s a huge tournament, you’re working with the best players in the world, and you’re unearthing and seeing some incredible Indian talent. I think the best way to describe the IPL to people who haven’t been there or seen it is you talk to the young Aussie guys who go and play, and they say every game is like an AFL Grand Final. the atmosphere that’s created around a lot of these venues is unbelievable.”

“For all those reasons it’s great to be part of, and the other thing is that it’s eight or nine weeks. “It’s not a huge time commitment, so it fits in really well with where my life’s at,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ponting is not new to coaching in the IPL. He had coached Mumbai Indians to their second IPL title in 2015, but the franchise chose not to give him a fresh contract after his two-year contract expired in 2016. He had joined the franchise as a player in 2013 but stepped away midway through the tournament due to poor form.

Ponting, who is Australia’s highest run-getter in Tests and ODIs and led them to two World Cup glories, went on to say coaching is the best way to give back something to the game which has been a big part of his life.

“I’ve just got that cricket bug. Cricket’s not all that I know, but it’s a big part of what I know, a big part of what I enjoy and a big part of what my life’s been for so long. I’ve been around a lot of great people, I’ve been around a lot of great people. I think I understand people really well. I think I understand the tactical and technical side of the game really well, so I feel I’ve got a lot to offer back to the game. I’ve almost got that itch to scratch when I’m not around a competition.

Every IPL Game is Like an AFL Grand Final - Ricky Ponting
Ponting is keen to contribute to the game by coaching (Credits: Getty)

“I’ve lived my life as a competitive person for so long, competing as a batsman, competing as a player and when your career’s over that all stops and you’ve got none of that in your life anymore. In the last couple of years, I’ve started to feel and understand that I need to have a certain degree of that in my life, let alone the fact that I love helping young blokes out,” he added.

Every IPL Game is Like an AFL Grand Final - Ricky Ponting
Ponting with Sachin Tendulkar during his stint with Mumbai Indians (Credits: BCCI)

Ponting further spoke on condition of T20 in Australia. The 43-year old, who had served as Australia’s interim batting coach for their T20 series against Sri Lanka last year, pointed out that Australia’s failure to achieve anything significant in the T20 format is responsible for the constant changing of the team and the lack of sufficient T20 game time together.

“The T20 game in Australia, I still feel, has a lot of hurdles to get over. Historically, we haven’t performed well in international T20 tournaments, and I think the reason for that is we don’t get much continuity with our playing group. Quite often, from one tournament to another we have a different captain (leading) the side because of what’s coming up and what’s just been.

“Until we start paying more attention to the T20 game…I don’t think we’ll ever improve. Yes, we have the Big Bash, but we don’t play much other T20 cricket in Australia so – unless you’re playing in the IPL – our players aren’t playing a lot, and they’re not playing a lot together,” Ponting noted.

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