On 18 April, the day when the Indian Premier League started back in 2008, the Delhi Capitals released a video where veteran cricketers like Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting, and Ajit Agarkar recalled their stories from the opening season. Ponting was part of the opening match of the tournament as he played for the Kolkata Knight Riders recalled the signing of then Kolkata net bowler Ashok Dinda for their main squad.
Dinda then went on to have a stellar IPL career and also made his India debut in 2009. The former Australia captain talked about how Dinda throughout the pre-season ‘ran in and bowled bouncers’. This propelled Ponting to ask the KKR coach John Buchanan to give him a contract.
“Ashok Dinda was a net bowler for us at Kolkata, and for 7-10 days, he literally ran in and bowled bouncers at all of us for every session. And I ended up saying to John Buchanan that 'there is something about this guy, let's give him a contract.' And he ended up getting one. I think he took maybe the first three wickets as well of the IPL, and that was the start of what ended up being the 12 or 13-year career for Ashok Dinda in the IPL," he said.
Ashok Dinda finished his IPL career playing for five teams with 69 wickets in 78 matches.
“Bazz was going harder and harder”
Punter also opened up about current KKR coach Brendon McCullum's historic 158 runs and how he tried to slow him down, but the Kiwi batter kept smashing boundaries and sixes. He said, “We didn't really know about the tempo of the game or what the score was going to be. Brendon was opening the batting, and I was batting at three and got off to an unbelievable start.
“It seemed like everything he hit had just flew off the bat. I was trying to slow him down a little bit, and he was going harder and harder and ended up playing an incredible innings. What better than seeing the first game of the tournament than someone going out there and getting 158.”