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Cricket news - Ponting expects seam to spin transition in Dubai

"I think the conditions might change quite a bit through the tournament with only three venues being used. Here in Dubai, we have 24 games."

"I think the conditions might change quite a bit through the tournament with only three venues being used. Here in Dubai, we have 24 games."

Contrary to widespread public opinion that IPL 2020 will see an increase in the use of slow bowlers, Ricky Ponting, the head coach of Delhi Capitals, sees the seamers playing a crucial role too, especially early in the tournament in Dubai.

Delhi Capitals are based in Dubai, one of the three venues along with Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, and have done all their practice there in the lead-up to their first game against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday (September 20). With some practice time available at the main venue, Ponting cited that he noticed a lot of grass on the main pitch.

"I think the conditions might change quite a bit through the tournament with only three venues being used. Here in Dubai, we have 24 games. Speaking to the groundsman the other day, he has only four wickets [pitches] that he can use so he's going to have five or more games on each pitch. So we trained at the main ground a couple of days ago, there was a lot of green grass on the wicket. But I think by the time the game comes around tomorrow, there might be a little bit of that grass cut out," said Ponting in a press conference arranged by the Delhi Capitals on the eve of the game.

"But I think in the initial bit of the tournament, we'll see the seam bowlers having an impact but as the tournament goes on the wickets will slow down and probably start to spin a lot more. That's been our reading of the conditions so far, but we'll get a better idea once we get to the ground tomorrow. But I'm expecting that certainly in the first part there won't be a lot of spin on offer certainly in Dubai anyway," he added.

The conditions in UAE, and how teams will adapt to it has been one of the interesting elements in this edition, with Ponting also indicating that his reading so far will dictate who makes it to the final eleven and when.

Talking about their newest recruit Daniel Sams, Ponting mentioned that the special appeal of Sams was his "really good variations". And went on to outline how he fits into their plans. "At the back end of the tournament, as I said earlier when the wickets get abrasive and probably spin a little more and the slower ball variations will hold a little more in the wicket, I think that's where Daniel will become very important for us. He's got very good off-cutter slower balls, yorker and the bouncer," he said.

While ground dimensions and pitch conditions play one part in affecting the cricket strategies, there are other new rules in place which include the saliva ban. Talking about the changes needed to get used to it, Ponting said, "Saliva ban - a lot of these things just end up being habits. The players will end up doing something without realising what they've done. That's something we have to be really conscious of, I know there are going to be quite some hefty fines if a player does it more than two or three times and a big fine for a player that actually puts saliva on the ball. So we're looking for a bit of clarity, is sweat allowed for instance. We'll be briefed today and once the game starts the players will be very clear what they can and can't do.

"But I mean a T20 game compared to a Test match, a lot less attention is paid to a ball in a T20 game to maintain than a ball in a Test match. So I don't think it's a big deal but as I said it does become a habit and it's something players will have to be conscious of.

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