Led by David Warner, the team failed to impress, and their hopes of clinching their first-ever title were once again crushed.
With a meager 10 points in the league, they narrowly avoided finishing last, just ahead of the wooden-spoon holders Sunrisers Hyderabad.
DC wicketkeeper-batsman Abishek Porel feels the Delhi side will come back stronger next season.
Abishek Porel (Image credit: Instagram)
Porel, who was called up to fulfill the wicketkeeping responsibilities in their second match of the season against the Gujarat Titans, scored 20 runs and showcased good skills with the gloves behind the stumps.
The left-handed cricketer from Bengal also said the Delhi side missed the services of star Rishabh Pant.
Porel, who played 4 matches for the Delhi side in the season, spoke to TimesofIndia.com in an exclusive interview and discussed Delhi Capitals’ IPL 2023 show, meeting Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni, ICC under-19 World Cup, and much more…
What was the learning curve like for you at the Delhi Capitals?
I had a good learning experience at Delhi Capitals. I got to learn a lot from the seniors and coaches. From sharing the dressing room to sharing the nets with world-class cricketers and taking tips and cricketing lessons from them – that was the best thing. I really enjoyed it a lot. Delhi Capitals is like a family. I was grateful that I got the opportunity and the best part was that I gained a lot of confidence.
Abishek Porel (Image credit: Instagram)
Delhi Capitals finished 9th this season. Another disappointing outing…
We have a strong unit and a strong captain in David Warner. We will come back stronger next season. I gave my best and Warner also said ‘keep learning’. We have star players and coaches and I know we will do well next season. All of us have that positive mindset.
You met Rishabh Pant who is recuperating from injuries. What was that meeting like?
When he came for the first time to meet us, I went to him and asked him a lot of things. He is a senior and experienced player. He said ‘just play your natural game and don’t take any pressure’. His words – ‘bindaas khelo and khul ke khelo’ (just go and play freely) encouraged me. He discussed his maiden IPL experience and his first IPL outing with me. He said ‘ek ball ke baad sabb theek ho jata hai, koi pressure nahi hota’ (everything is ok after the first delivery).
You would say that Delhi Capitals really missed Rishabh Pant…
Yes, of course. Rishabh Pant was missed. He is a star player and has played a lot of matches in IPL and India. He is a match-winner. DC missed him.
Rishabh Pant survived a deadly car accident. That must have been a big shock for the whole DC team…
He is recovering day by day. I wished him a speedy recovery. He is a star player in the Indian team and the team needs him. He should be fine and will (hopefully) hit the field soon. He is on the path to recovery.
Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly (Image credit: Delhi Capitals)
Delhi Capitals have legends like Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Ponting in their setup. Your take on them…
Sourav (Ganguly) sir and Ricky (Ponting) sir are people whom we have seen playing and tried to emulate on the field. I was so happy when I saw them at Delhi Capitals. You can learn a lot from them. If you have any doubts, go to Sourav sir and Ricky sir, they will solve a query or problem in seconds. They both are so so helpful and I tried to learn a lot from them. They say – ‘play your game and don’t take pressure’.
After the Delhi Capitals experimented with Sarfaraz Khan as the wicketkeeper in their opening match, you were entrusted with the role in the second match against the Gujarat Titans. How prepared were you?
I was in my room. There was a knock on the door. Ricky Ponting sir was at the door. He came, smiled and said ‘Abhishek, be prepared, you are playing tomorrow. All the best’. He said some encouraging words. I was so happy at that moment.
Were you nervous about being a kind of replacement for Rishabh Pant?
Rishabh Pant is a big name. The expectations and pressure were there, honestly. But I was calm and wanted to go and express myself in the middle.
You took some spectacular catches in the tournament, especially the one of Rohit Sharma…
I have practiced a lot. I have worked a lot on reaction time. Keeping an eye on the bowler and the ball has helped me a lot. Fitness is also important. When you practice a lot things become easy for you. Whatever I practiced, that’s what I went and applied on the field. After the match against Mumbai Indians, Rohit Sharma told me – ‘good catch taken, keep up the good work’.
MS Dhoni and Abishek Porel (Image credit: Instagram)
You were also part of the victorious ICC under-19 World Cup 2022 team, captained by Yash Dhull. How would you envision your future in senior India cricket?
The under-19 World Cup was a huge platform for me. After winning the World Cup, many doors opened for me. I played Ranji Trophy and domestic tournaments. I take every single step as a platform for me and try to give my best in each and every tournament.
Who is your inspiration and why?
My idol is Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni). I have followed him very closely. I have followed Adam Gilchrist also. I used to watch his videos – both batting and keeping – and tried to bring those techniques into my game. I met Mahi bhai and took a lot of tips from him. He taught me the technicalities involved in wicketkeeping and how to grab the ball well.