IPL 2021: Shimron Hetmyer backs attacking style to succeed despite challenging surfaces

Delhi Capitals batsman says the team has gelled 'like a family' this year

The second part of the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League has taken many by surprise.

Totals of 150, and not 180 or 200, have been the norm so far with Punjab Kings even defending 125 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Sharjah.

Surfaces in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, especially, have aided bowlers with batting expected to remain a challenge for the coming weeks, which will include the T20 World Cup.

However for Delhi Capitals batsman Shimron Hetmyer, the pitches have not been unplayable.

"Batting has not been that difficult, to be honest. It has been a tad bit slow. So far it has been all right," Hetmyer told The National.

"So far, I haven't really had a chance to bat spin in the tournament. So I can't really judge after batting against just the seamers. Last year when we played here, it was not too difficult. And it's not too different this time."

Still, batsmen no longer have the luxury to clear their front leg and swing over midwicket. Fast bowlers and spinners have both been able to exploit the slowness of the surfaces, with teams now focusing on accumulating runs up front in preparation for the eventual slowdown.

Technique of batsmen, therefore, could prove critical - something that the 20-over format is not known for. However, Hetmyer prefers to keep his game simple.

"Slow wickets, yes you have to bat properly. But then again, not to take away from your game if your game is to play shots and to power hit. You have to be clear about what you need to do," Hetmyer said.

"The big thing this year in UAE is execution, because the wickets are a tad bit slower than what we were accustomed to last year."

Delhi like a family

For now, Hetmyer is enjoying Delhi's success. The Capitals are on the brink of making the playoffs. They are now the heavyweights of IPL, having reached the final of the 2020 edition that was also held in the UAE.

Rishabh Pant's team are now in familiar territory, and Hetmyer feels this time the players are even closer.

"We gelled a little bit more earlier this year. Last year, we took a little bit more time to be together and get closer as one. This year, it feels like we are more of a family," the Guyanese batsman said.

"I would think it is because the season started earlier this time. Then we had a little more time to know everyone. We are here now. It's a matter of us being closer and for each player to know their roles. When they step on the field, the players know what they need to do to contribute to the team."

While the IPL final is the immediate goal, at least for teams still in playoff contention, the T20 World Cup is on the back of the mind of those who are part of their national sides.

Hetmyer will be part of T20 champions West Indies' squad when the showpiece event begins on October 17. Both tournaments are the same format, but the dynamics will be different. Hetmyer acknowledges it, but is not thinking that far ahead.

"I don't have a choice, the mindset has to change [from IPL to World Cup]." he said.

"Here [at Delhi] I am the finisher, there [West Indies] I am the person who stays in and tries to bat as long as possible. Mindset has to change, but right now I am not thinking about that. We still have a lot of games left. For now, I am just focusing on the job I need to do for Delhi Capitals - which is to finish the innings."

Updated: October 2nd 2021, 3:28 AM