Pressure off players at closed-door IPL, says Ponting

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Ricky Ponting during the Cricket Australia Bushfire Cricket Bash media opportunity at Cricket Australia HQ in Melbourne on 6 February 2020.
Ricky Ponting during the Cricket Australia Bushfire Cricket Bash media opportunity at Cricket Australia HQ in Melbourne on 6 February 2020.
Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Australian cricket great Ricky Ponting Saturday said there would be less pressure on players in the virus-hit Indian Premier League with matches being played in empty stadiums.

The Twenty20 tournament begins Saturday evening in the United Arab Emirates, with holders Mumbai Indians playing the Chennai Super Kings in the opener in Abu Dhabi.

Ponting, coach of IPL side Delhi Capitals who kick off their campaign against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday, believes his team will bring their own energy to the field.

"The fact that there is no crowds on the ground, I actually think that probably puts less pressure on the players," Ponting said in a virtual pre-season press conference from Dubai.

"The less noise and everything there probably creates less pressure," he said.

"Playing in front of an empty stadium will be different ... but once we start I think it is going to be about our group creating their own atmosphere and own energy on the ground and not expecting the crowds actually in the stadium to lift us up and anything like that."

However Delhi skipper Shreyas Iyer said the team would be missing the roar of their fans in the stadiums.

"Fans obviously when they are in the stands they give us that boost and the adrenaline subsequently. So we obviously we would be missing them out there in the stadium," said Iyer.

"The cheer, the roar and the support that we used to get would be missing."

The IPL, originally scheduled to start in March, was shifted out due to rising coronavirus cases in India.

All eight IPL teams have been under strict bio-security bubbles and rules laid down by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The International Cricket Council had ordered a temporary ban on using saliva for shining the ball in their efforts to restart the game amid the pandemic in June.

Ponting said players were looking for clarity on the issue.

"For instance, is sweat allowed? We will be briefed today and once the play starts we would be aware what we can or can't do," he said.

"But generally looking at a T20 game compared to a Test match, there is lot less attention normally paid to the ball in a T20 game than to maintain a ball in a Test match.

"So I don't think it's a big deal, but as I said it does become habit and one thing the players have to be conscious of."

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