Prithvi Shaw's pre-tournament net sessions had convinced Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting that a breakthrough IPL season awaited him, but he now has to admit that a lot of openers in other IPL teams are performing better than the colourful Mumbai batter. (More Cricket News)
Shaw has been dropped after playing six games and it is unlikely that DC will go back to him anytime soon.
"I think it's 13 games (considering IPL 2022 as well) since Prithvi has made a 50 opening the batting for the Delhi capitals. There are a lot of other players at the top of the order with other teams that are playing a whole lot better than Prithvi," Ponting said ahead of the team's match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday.
Shaw scored just 47 runs in six games in this IPL.
"Prithvi at his absolute best we know he's a match-winner. That's one of the reasons that he's a retained player because we know if he bats a certain amount of balls, we win about 95% of the games," he said.
"But so far this season, he hasn't been able to produce. I think the six games that he played was just over 40-odd runs, so that's not what we require right now.
"So is it a tough decision to leave him out, but hopefully the team that we put on the park tomorrow can go win another game for us."
"When he arrived this year, he'd been at the NCA for quite a few weeks working really hard on his fitness he turned up in good physical shape and his work ethic and training and everything in the nets suggested to me that this might be just that big year for him but that hasn't worked out just yet."
Even playing England's Phil Salt hasn't worked for the Capitals this season.
"We needed to try and find a bit of a spark at the top of the order and Phil Salt moved up there the last game but that didn't quite work as well," Ponting said.
Ponting is hopeful Shaw can finish things on a high if he gets another chance.
"But saying that there's a long way to go and if things don't work out with our current top order, there's no reason why he couldn't be back in the team and hopefully can finish the tournament off really strongly."
ONLY RAHANE HAS TURNED HIMSELF FROM ANCHOR TO AGGRESSOR
Ponting feels the role of an anchor in T20 cricket is dying, with most teams obsessed with massive sixes and high strike-rates.
"If you look at what all teams are doing, everyone's just going out there in the powerplay and just trying to get off to an absolute flying start. And I don't think I've seen so many sixes hit early on in an innings as I've seen so far in this IPL," Ponting said during the pre-match press conference.
Ponting feels attacking batters can change into anchor roles, but it's not true the other way round.
I'm a believer in, you know, if you've got aggressive, powerful batsman, they can change their game to play the anchor role, but anchor role players can very rarely change to be that 200 strike rate. The only one I can think of this year is Rahane," he said.
"So I feel probably that anchor role is dying off a little bit, but it also just comes down to how you're going on the day as an individual batsman. Sometimes you just don't get off to the start that you want to and therefore you're almost sort of forced to play a different role.
"So it's a day-by-day thing, but I think the actual role of someone batting an opening or batting at number three and trying to bat through the entire innings I think that's dying off."
Delhi Capitals will take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday.
HOPING TO FIND CONTINUITY IN OUR BATTING LINEUP: MARKRAM
Constant chopping and changing in the playing XI in order to find the right balance has made things difficult, admitted Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper Aiden Markram, hoping to find continuity in our batting line-up in the remaining IPL games.
SRH players have lacked consistency, forcing the team management to go for frequent changes in the lineup.
"Yeah, it's (chopping and changing) been a difficult one. As much as we do try and find places for everyone to play the whole time, I do certainly believe and agree that the more consistent things are, the quicker and better will get results.
"So it is important for us to try and find some form of continuity in our batting lineup," Markram said.
"Sometimes in games, changes are just based on matchups, but we're in a position now as a team where hopefully we found our life balance and hopefully we get the combination right down into tomorrow's game and we get some continuity with batting."
Markram said for batters it is more about addressing the mindset.
"Yeah, that (batting) has been our downfall, unfortunately. But I think it's really more just about addressing the mindset and the mental approach towards it," Markram said.
"So we're trying to free guys up and get them to express themselves as best as they can. I just felt that we were slightly conservative and slightly playing within ourselves, unfortunately.
"But it's now about getting the freedom to the players to try and be the best versions of themselves and whatever comes from there, I think that it makes dealing with a lot easier."
Washington Sundar was ruled out of the IPL due to a hamstring injury.
"Washy (Washington Sundar) is a massive loss, unfortunately, and we all know the quality cricketer he really is. He is brilliant in all sort of three areas of the game and brings experiences having played international cricket. It is gonna be a big loss," Markram said.
"Because of that, we're gonna have to maybe try a couple of different combinations."