Former India player Ajay Jadeja feels that the Punjab Kings (PBKS) are not using their explosive batting talents in IPL 2022 wisely. According to him, Punjab should not be conservative at the start and can start the attack from the beginning only because they have players who can handle the situation even if wickets fall early.
However, PBKS didn’t have a great show in IPL 2022 so far and they are currently seventh in the points table with six points in their name as well. They will now play against eighth-placed Delhi Capitals (DC) in the 32nd match of IPL 2022 at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday, 20 April.
Previewing the clash, Ajay Jadeja urged PBKS to leave their conservative approach with the bat and attack from the beginning. During a discussion on Cricbuzz, he said: “Punjab have two solid openers, and their ‘go big’ players are batting way behind. They go slow at the start and then go big. They should start attacking from the start. If Mayank Agarwal is unfit, they should move Jonny Bairstow to the top. It is easy for players to bat at no loss or with one wicket down. Once six wickets are down, even big players become no big.”
However, Jadeja also raised questions about Shahrukh Khan’s utilization, saying him a “wonderful player,” but added that the PBKS think tank has hardly used him well.
The veteran opined: “Shahrukh Khan is batting too low in the order. His talent needs to be utilized properly. According to me, Shahrukh Khan has not been used yet this year. Shahrukh is a wonderful player. But, if you are playing only the last 10-12 balls, I don’t count it as a being utilized.”
However, he also feels Delhi Capitals’ (DC) off-field woes, due to COVID-19, might act as a catalyst and inspire them to do well on the field. Notably, several members, including all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, have returned positive tests for COVID-19.
“Over the last couple of days, the players must not have thought about their game. All the talk would have been regarding the medical aspect and whether they would be able to play or not. I have a feeling that if they get a chance to play, they will just explode. This bio-bubble life is a different kind of challenge. Normally when there are problems, you meet and sort them out. But due to the COVID thing, the players would not even have met each other over the last couple of days. Everyone has been in quarantine, tests would have been conducted. I really don’t know what kind of role the captain can play,” Ajay Jadeja stated.
Meanwhile, The DC vs PBKS clash was earlier scheduled to be held at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune. However, as a safety precaution after the COVID-19 cases, the venue has changed and it will take place at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. And, according to former Indian left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, the Delhi management will try and ensure players don’t carry off-field issues on the field as well.
He stated: “It will be difficult for Delhi considering they might be thinking about what has happened with regards to COVID in the camp. It is psychology and the mind is bound to think in that direction. But it is just as important to deal with things off the field as it is on it. The biggest challenge for the team management will be how they handle players under the current situation. If players are not focused and are thinking about what has happened in the camp, that will show on the ground. DC have a great coach like Ricky Ponting and Pravin Amre, who is mentally strong. I am sure the support staff will be trying to put them in a comfort zone so that the off-field issue is not taken to the ground.”