IPL 2021: Not sure how we got Steve Smith so cheap, says Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting

1 month ago 11

Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting is confident that Steve Smith will be hungrier than ever in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, saying that the Australia star will be determined to prove a point after having been released by Rajasthan Royals ahead of the new season.

Ricky Ponting said he had a chat with Steve Smith before leaving for India and that the former Rajasthan Royals captain is geared up to do well for the new franchise. Ponting pointed out that a good show for Smith in IPL 2021 will only boost his value ahead of the mega auction, which is scheduled in the lead up to IPL 2022, which is expected to have 2 more teams.

Steve Smith was sold for Rs 2.2 crore at the IPL 2021 auction in February, just Rs 20 lakh more than his base price. While the Australia star was expected to trigger a bidding war, he got only 2 bids, one from Royal Challengers Bangalore and the other from the Capitals. The Capitals' bid of Rs 2.2 crore turned out to be the winning bid.

"I'm not really sure how we got him so cheap," Ricky Ponting told cricket.com.au.

"I think the fact that he's been released from the franchise that he's been at for a long time will make him a bit hungry as well this year," he added.

"I caught up with him (recently), he's very, very keen to go out there and perform well.

"Obviously the other side of that is there's a big auction again next year, so if he happens to have a really good IPL this year, then I'm sure that that price is going to go up for the coming season."

It was one bid and bang!

Ponting said Delhi Capitals team management did not give too much thought to their chances of getting Smith at the auction, thinking they would eventually be outbid by some other franchise.

"So going into the auction, we hadn't really spoken a lot about Smithy. His name did come up in some of the strategy stuff, but we just thought 'we're getting outbid', simple as that. So we hadn't put that much time into it," he said.

"I was on the phone at home actually watching the auction live and talking to our owners as it was all happening. And that one bid came from us, and it was one bid and bang! Sold to Delhi Capitals. It was actually quite remarkable how it turned out because that sort of class doesn't come around all the time and that sort of experience doesn't come around all the time."

'If he gets an opportunity, he would bat in top 3'

Smith arrived in India last week and has been in quarantine. The star batsman will join the rest of the team after the mandatory period in isolation. It will be interesting to see if Smith will get a place in the XI straightaway as Delhi Capitals have had a settled overseas core. The likes of Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Norje, Shimron Hetmyer and Marcus Stoinis have been consistent performers for the franchise over the years and the addition of the likes of Sam Billings and Chris Woakes makes the competition tighter.

However, Ponting believes Smith might get opportunities to bat at the top-order and is confident that the star batsman will be able to deliver big for the Capitals in IPL 2021.

"So, if he gets an opportunity with us - I think it will be in the top three somewhere - if he gets an opportunity, I'm sure he'll have a great year for us.

"(It's) great to have him as a part of our squad. As I said - even if he doesn't play, for instance, to have someone like that around with his sort of knowledge on the game and the T20 game, will be great for our group. I can't wait to work with him again," Ponting added.

Delhi Capitals begin their IPL 2021 campaign against 3-time champions Chennai Super Kings in Mumbai on April 10.