IPL 2021: Punjab Kings coach Jonty Rhodes says, ‘important to get good start’, ‘take 1 game at a time’

IPL 2021: Punjab Kings coach Jhonty Rhodes says, ‘important to get good start’, ‘take one game at a time’; KL Rahul; Chris Gayle, Malan
IPL 2021: Punjab Kings coach Jhonty Rhodes says, ‘important to get good start’, ‘take one game at a time’; KL Rahul; Chris Gayle, Malan

IPL 2021: IPL 2021: Punjab Kings coach Jonty Rhodes says, ‘important to get good start’, ‘take 1 game at a time’- With less than a week left for the IPL 2021, Punjab Kings are gearing up for the upcoming season and hitting the nets at the iconic Cricket Club of India (CCI) in Mumbai. They will play their opening match against Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on April 12. Ahead of their IPL campaign, the Punjab Kings fielding coach Jonty Rhodes has stressed on the importance of beginning well in IPL 2021.

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“In T20 cricket, it’s important to get a good start in the opening three games and not worry about making the playoffs,” Rhodes told The Times of India

“Obviously we will be aiming to get to the playoffs and from there, any team can win. But you don’t look too far ahead. You also understand that you need to get a bit of a roll as early as possible on a positive note. Last season we lost to Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings, both of them didn’t qualify. But it’s a new season, we have a strong side with new energy. One game at a time is our first target,” he added.

Having lost 6 out of the first seven matches in IPL 2020, the KL Rahul-led Punjab Kings had failed to qualify for the playoffs last year. But, they had done well in the second half of the tournament, winning 5 out of 7 matches.

Also Read: IPL 2021: Full list of fixtures, venues and match timings of Punjab Kings (PBKS)

‘Impressed with fielding but there’s room for improvement’

Jonty Rhodes lauded Nicholas Pooran, Chris Jordan and Mayank Agarwal for their on-field heroics in fielding but he added that there’s always room for improvement.

“Both are great athletes and for me as a fielding coach, you just try and encourage that kind of awareness. But if Pooran does that every single game he will eventually hurt himself because the timing was incredible. If you get it slightly wrong, suddenly you pop your shoulder and damage is done. Happy with the way Punjab fielded last season but there’s always room for improvement,” Jonty Rhodes added.

“I try to create an environment where players don’t feel under pressure. The focus is certainly on the process and not much on the outcome. The idea is to create a match situation during every training session,” Jonty Rhodes said ahead of IPL 2021.

Jonty Rhodes also hailed Chris Gayle’s fielding. “Last season, Gayle didn’t concede a single ‘single’, and what I work on is to put him as close to the bat as possible,” he noted.

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Mohammad Shami, an important cog

Rhodes also hailed Punjab Kings spearhead Mohammad Shami who took most wickets for them in the last IPL season.

“Mohd. Shami got our first run-out last season, and it’s not only about the younger, faster fielders. It’s about encouraging the senior guys to lead by example but without false expectation. Shami is such an important part of our bowling and if I stretch him impossibly, he’s gonna hurt a finger or an elbow. So I make sure he’s comfortable in his fielding,” he said.

Also Read: IPL 2021: PBKS’ Mhd Shami big declaration, “Our death bowling seems better, we should do better”

Malan- World No 1 T20I batsman

Speaking about new recruit Dawid Malan- ICC World No 1 T20I batsman, SA legend further said that it’s the mindset that players carry on the field that matters most.

“You can be the No 1 T20I batsman in the world, which we have in our team, but he is brilliant on the field as well, not just in the games but also in practice. I spoke to a couple of coaches on what sort of players we have, so having a number one player isn’t special, he must also be a special person,” he told TOI.

IPL 2021 Punjab Kings squad:

KL Rahul (c&wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Prabsimran Singh, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Harpreet Brar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Darshan Nalkande, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson, Shahrukh Khan, Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Jalaj Saxena, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, Saurabh Kumar

IPL 2021 PBKS: Short analysis

Punjab Kings roped in Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith to improve their squad in terms of powerplay and death bowling options. Moises Henriques, Dawid Malan and Shahrukh Khan are likely to boost the batting department, which was a major concern for Punjab Kings in IPL 2020. Fabian Allen is likely to bowl along with Murugan Ashwin in the slog overs. Overall, the team depth looks good in terms of batting, bowling and all-rounders.

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