In Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, Delhi have won only two out of six home games so far. Their scores at the Arun Jaitley Stadium have made for a mixed reading — 162/8, 172 all out, 128/6, 188/6, 187/3 and 136/8. The Warner-led side, currently at the bottom of the standings with 10 points from 13 matches, will face Chennai Super Kings in their last game of the season at home on Saturday afternoon.
“Look, the pitches here in Delhi haven’t been great, to be totally honest. They are probably great if you have a different sort of setup for your team. If you have a lot of Indian top-order batters, then that wicket will suit the team. But that’s not the makeup of our squad. So, as we saw the other night, where we saw ourselves playing on a traditional, good playing wicket and the ball goes through nicely like it’s going nicely and the ball doesn’t really turn a lot.”
“We then saw what can exactly happen from our batting-line up with overseas batters and Prithvi Shaw, which is our strength. But unfortunately, when we came here to Delhi, because of the amount of cricket played on this wicket block, it’s very dry, not much grass and exposes the set-up of our batting in particular.”
“Hopefully, next season, we are going to have a very similar squad again and conditions will be more suitable to the make-up of our team. Hopefully, there will be more truer batting surfaces which will show the true, world-class batters that we do have on nice, traditional surfaces,” said Watson in the pre-match press conference.
At the same time, Watson added that pitches in Delhi not being to their linking can’t be taken as a justification for the batting line-up not capitalising on the home advantage.
“That’s not an excuse for us not performing well; it’s just that it made it more difficult for us and our batters to be at their best. Hopefully, from one season to next, there will be better surfaces and big change out there as with the make-up of our team, it doesn’t make it really easy for us.”
In a batting devoid of regular wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant, Shaw was expected to lead the march for Delhi with the bat in IPL 2023, especially after registering some sterling performances in the 2022/23 domestic season.