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Ponting: 'It was a tough decision to leave Prithvi out'

"The six games he played, it was just over 40-odd runs, averaging about 7 or 8. That's not what we require right now"

Prithvi Shaw walks back for 13 off 11 balls, Delhi Capitals vs Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2023, Delhi, April 20, 2023

Prithvi Shaw was dropped for Delhi Capitals' last game after a string of low scores  •  BCCI

Ricky Ponting has no doubt Prithvi Shaw remains a match-winner, but feels that the Delhi Capitals opener had gone through a long enough run of low scores to merit being left out of Delhi Capitals' XI. Shaw played the first six games of the season for Capitals, scoring 12, 7, 0, 15, 0 and 13, before being dropped for their most recent game against Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 24.
Ponting, the Capitals coach, noted that Shaw's run of low scores for Capitals stretched all the way to the second half of the 2022 season. The opener has now failed to pass fifty in his last 12 IPL innings. Shaw was one of four players - Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel and Anrich Nortje were the others - retained by the franchise ahead of the 2022 mega auction.
"It just came to the point, where yes, it was six games this season, but I think it was six or seven games at the back end of last season as well," Ponting said on the eve of Capitals' return fixture against Sunrisers. "I think it's 13 [12] games since Prithvi has made a fifty opening the batting for the Delhi Capitals, which, if you look throughout the tournament, 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."
In their last match against Sunrisers, Capitals left Shaw out and promoted Phil Salt to open alongside David Warner. The move didn't come off immediately: Salt was out for a first-ball duck.
"We needed to find a bit of a spark at the top of the order, and Phil Salt moved there in the last game - that didn't quite work as well," Ponting said. "So yeah, Prithvi, absolutely, at his absolute best we know he is a match-winner. That's one of the reasons that he is a retained player here at the Delhi Capitals, because we know that if he bats a certain amount of balls, we win about 95% of the games, but so far this season he hasn't been able to produce.
"I think the six games that he played, it was just over 40-odd runs, averaging about 7 or 8, so that's not what we require right now. So it was a tough decision to leave him out, but hopefully, the team that we put on the park tomorrow can win another game for us."
"We know that if he bats a certain amount of balls, we win about 95% of the games, but so far this season he hasn't been able to produce"
Ponting on Shaw
Ponting was surprised by Shaw's poor returns in IPL 2023 - he had felt at the start of the season that Shaw was shaping up well, both from a fitness and work-ethic perspective, to score heavily.
"It's not difficult to have the conversation, because that's what my job is," Ponting said when asked about communicating the decision to drop Shaw. "When guys are not performing, or even when they are performing, it's my job to have good, honest, open, adult conversations with all the players, and nothing's different with Prithvi. I talk the same way to him as I talk to any guys that are scoring runs.
"But as it sort of worked out, when he arrived this year, he had been at the NCA [National Cricket Academy] for quite a few weeks, he had been working really hard on his fitness. He turned up in good physical shape, and his work ethic and training and everything he did in the nets suggested to me that this might be just that big year for him.
"I actually came out publicly and said it, on record, saying that I thought he would be one of our standout players for the tournament. That hasn't worked out just yet, but saying that, there's a long way to go. 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 if he gets back in the team, then hopefully he can finish the tournament really strongly.
"We know what sort of talent he is, everyone's seen him play. It's up to us, as a team, to find a way to get the best out of him."