Punjab Kings fielding coach Jonty Rhodes has said that the importance of a 'fielding captain' on the field cannot be stated enough.
Last season, Glenn Maxwell helped KL Rahul on the field, adding great value to the team with his electric fielding ability. However, Glenn Maxwell is now part of Royal Challengers Bangalore after Punjab Kings let him leave following a disappointing IPL 2020 campaign. The big-hitting Australian scored just 108 runs last year while failing to hit a single maximum.
Speaking in a virtual press conference on Thursday, Jonty Rhodes talked about the importance of a senior player helping out with the 'fielding captaincy':
"Last year we had Glenn Maxwell who is obviously a brilliant fielder. He was certainly somebody who was adding great value to the field, to KL (Rahul). When you are the captain, you are worrying about bowling changes and field placings for different people. It is always difficult to get everything spot on. Having a senior player who can help out with the fielding captaincy is very important,” Rhodes said
Although Jonty Rhodes said that Maxwell would be missed on the field, he reiterated the importance of competitive spirit on the cricket field.
“But practice is all mine. I hope to create an environment where the players rise to the intensity because they want to. We are all competitive That competitive spirit is always there and that is what I try and create in practice. So even if it is me with one fielder, I have a competition. I want to make sure that I hit the ball past him and he can’t catch it five out of five times, because then it is a victory for me,” said Rhodes.
Jonty Rhodes wants senior players to keep morale high
Jonty Rhodes said that he expects senior players to do the heavy lifting on the field during games.
“So I am putting them under pressure, and they are rising to it at fielding practices. Fielding practices are mine. I am not expecting senior players to lift anything for me. But during the games, yes they are an important part of what we do,” observed Rhodes.
IPL 2021 is set to be played under closed doors, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. That would mark the second time the T20 tournament would take place without fans, following a 'fanless' IPL 2020 in UAE.
Jonty Rhodes said that playing without fans is a surreal experience but urged his senior players to bring energy to the field.
“Because sometimes the ball misses the fielders, goes in the gap, and as a fielding unit, you can get flat. It is important then for the senior guys to lift that and create that energy. Especially now, empty stadiums in the UAE, it was quite difficult because there is no atmosphere. You as a team have to create that, and that’s where your senior players play a role,” Jonty Rhodes concluded.
Punjab Kings and Nicholas Pooran gave fans one of the best moments of IPL 2020. The West Indian’s acrobatic effort at the boundary left even Sachin Tendulkar impressed.
With just a few days to go for the start of IPL 2021, Jonty Rhodes and coo will hope that the team puts out similar performances on the field this season as well.