Tom Moody’s fix for Delhi Capitals – Drop Prithvi Shaw, promote Mitchell Marsh, recall Rilee Rossouw
Capitals are in crisis after starting IPL 2023 with five consecutive defeats. They will likely have to win eight of their nine remaining games to have a chance of qualifying for the play-offs, starting with a home fixture against Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday night.
Moody, a title-winning coach with Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2016, has over a decade of experience in IPL dressing rooms. In an extended edition of ESPNcricinfo’s T20 Time:Out, he dissected Capitals’ issues and offered a potential solution to their problems with the bat, which have seen them fail to pass 175 so far this season.
“I’ve faced situations where you have your backs up against the wall, and it’s a challenging time for everyone because pressure comes from all angles,” Moody said. “You get external pressure: there’s a lot of noise coming from the media, a lot of noise coming from your fans. And you’ve got your internal pressure, right through from ownership to senior management, baring into that dressing room.”
Moody believes that in the five-day gap between games, the franchise would have “gone through every department” of their line-up. “Clearly, the real red flag for Delhi Capitals is their batting and the inconsistency that they’ve shown in that five-game period is quite remarkable: the number of players, and the different positions that players have played in over that period of time,” he said.
Prithvi Shaw out, Mitchell Marsh to open
He believes that, after scoring 34 runs in his five innings of the season, Shaw’s time is up. “Prithvi Shaw is a unique case in that he’s an extraordinary talent and we all know what he’s capable of doing,” Moody said. “He’s done that not only in the IPL but on the international stage as well. With someone like him, you give him a little bit more rope with regards to his opportunity to come good, because you know that when he does, it’s going to be a high impact. But I think it’s got to the point after five games where that rope is running out.
“You’ve got to make a tough call on certain players that aren’t showing any light at the end of the tunnel. And on the evidence of what we’ve seen so far with Prithvi Shaw, it may well be that IPL 2023 may not be his year where he has the impact that we all hoped that he was going to have.
“It can just be, ‘oh, we’ll give him a couple more games and see what happens’. Those couple of games go, your chances as a franchise have gone. That’s why you’ve got to make that cold, hard decision at that point. This is crunch time.”
Moody wants Marsh, who has batted at No. 3 so far this season, to be shifted up to open.
“He’s done that before recently and he’s done it successfully. He’s naturally an enforcer so that would complement [David] Warner… it would help him as well,” Moody said. “You’ve got a left-right combination, you’ve got a 6ft4in and a 5ft8in batter, which is difficult to bowl to.”
Rilee Rossouw in, Axar Patel up at No. 5
He would also adjust their overseas combination, playing three overseas batters alongside Anrich Nortje at the expense of Mustafizur Rahman. “I think they’re left with no other choice at the moment,” Moody said. “They’ve been going two and two but I think they have no choice but to go the other way.
“At No. 3 and 4, I’d have Rilee Rossouw and Manish Pandey both padded up. I’d always want to keep a left-right combination in the top four: if Marsh gets out, Pandey goes in, and vice versa. That would be my lock for the top four.”
As for Axar, Moody would promote him to No. 5.
“His batting has really shone over the last 12 months. I’d embrace that and have real clear communication with him that this is his position to nail down… he could have a very good impact there, and it’s always nice to have a left-hander in that middle phase as well, because generally a lot of spin is being bowled.”
“The time we’ve spent dissecting it just shows you how difficult a challenge it is,” Moody said. “What you can be assured of is that Delhi have got an assured leadership group with Ponting and Ganguly, you’ve got experience in [Shane] Watson as a batting coach. They’ve got all the personnel. It’s a case of making sure that they get all those pieces in line to hopefully turning their fortunes around.”