MI will be confident tomorrow: Simmons

Delhi Daredevils coach says his team cannot take Mumbai Indians lightly

By IPL Staff
New Delhi 26 April 2012
The Delhi Daredevils optional practice session was cancelled as rain played spoilsport once again in the tournament. Ahead of their all-important match against the Mumbai Indians, DD coach Eric Simmons addressed the media here and spoke about the team composition and bowling tactics.

Excerpts from his pre-match media conference:

On the advantage of having beaten MI in the previous encounter

It was a good win against them the last time, but in this game, with Sachin [Tendulkar] back in the side, it makes a difference. Also, they had a good win last night, so they will be coming in with confidence. [...] So the game starts again. [...].

On close finishes in the IPL

It is good for a side and it is good to win [from a] losing position, from tough positions. We are very happy the way we have responded each time we have been under pressure and put ourselves in position to come out of it. And it’s good to have some easy wins [as well], but I don’t think we are expecting one tomorrow.

On a the untimely rain today

Some of the guys wanted to hit a ball. It was an optional practice today. [...] Ideally we would have gone and had a few hits but there wasn’t going to be any heavy session at this stage. But I am not unhappy with the fact that the guys are resting some more.

On the meticulous planning for the bowlers

One thing that you have to be careful is not to over plan. One has got to have balance between the plan you have got and what you execute. You have to concentrate on your bowlers as well. [...] It’s pointless having a plan that your bowler can’t execute with confidence. Sometimes the perfect plan for a batsman is not the perfect for the bowler. The perfect plan for the bowler is crucial, so that’s what we concentrate on in our game. It is important from our perspective that we know what our bowlers are about. [...] We play them [MI] a second time now; you watch games like last night, you try and pick up trends , you try and do a little bit different each time. We have a plan A and plan B, and that’s the way we talk about it.

On the pitch during their last game against PWI it had more in it for seamers than spinners

The pitch has played very well. It is really good wicket for everyone. It didn’t turn as much [...] but what is important is the flight and control for spinners in these conditions and we expected that for the first half in this tournament. That’s why we had plans for our spinners to bowl in those conditions. Unfortunately, in that particular game, we ended having to [use] left-arm spinners against two left-hand batsmen, which is not the ideal situation. And they were in [they were set] as well, so it wasn’t perfect. Spinner is always about four different aspects – loop and depth, your bounce, and turn, and your drift. And I think [on] wickets that aren’t turning, spinners have got to use the other aspects of their armory to be successful.

On the points table being congested

Yes it is. It is one of those tournaments where one win can take you from seventh place up to top-two or three and that’s the way it is when it is crowded. It is very congested at the top, at the moment. I don’t think it is going to be an easy walk through, so any one of the team is capable of going through and every game is going to be important. It is good to be in a position that we are, but it is only as good as the next game, and that’s what we are going to be thinking about [...].

On if the weather is playing on his mind

No, not really. You have to take it as it comes. [...] It is difficult to plan beyond what you see [...] We have to plan as if it is not going to rain and take it as it is comes. Now is a wrong time to lose, so it is going to play a major role.

On Pawan Negi’s role as he wasn’t bowled and was once sent up the order

He is an exciting young left-arm spinner who can bat. [...] We like to keep the opposition guessing about who is coming in next [to play]. [...] We try to think on our feet in the situations; sometimes it works. [...] You can’t shy away from taking chances because that’s what decision-making is about. [...] We gave a chance to him. He is a very talented batsman and I have no doubt that in the right situation he will play a role with the bat and the ball.

On Irfan Pathan’s bowling

I am very excited with the way Irfan has bowled. And another one of those clichés is like, Morne [Morkel] bowled a great last over but still went for 14 runs [approx] because inside edges goes for four. And that is why it is exciting to watch Irfan because he has gone for 20-odd [runs in four overs] for his last two-three games now; that’s exciting. I am watching the ball swing back and watching the batsman trying to play for swing being rushed a little bit more. And it is one step at a time, but each time I am more excited about where he is.

On DD’s top order

[...] It is not just that there are international [players] at the top but every single one of them is very experienced and they understand that from their perspective. If it was just top-heavy and wasn’t that experienced, I think then maybe there would be a cause for complacency. But they are very proud and experienced cricketers and they know their role and how important they are to the team. And even in that process I think there will be times when we will change them around to make sure that the opposite teams don’t settle down [to the line-up that we have]. We are blessed with a good line-up and three particularly committed overseas players and Viru [Virender Sehwag] as well. Someone like Viru has got tremendous experience in his position, and they [the experienced batsmen] have been good not just for the runs that they have scored but in terms of the contribution that they make.

On taking care of the players physically since they are playing back-to-back matches

Today was optional practice. We had a travel day yesterday and so there was time for recovery. Sometimes it’s just the rhythm. Some guys want to hit some balls and keep momentum going. It is always important to offer those practices. But there are times where as coach I will say I don’t want you to come along I want you to take some time off and just rejuvenate. And so often, it’s more about being refreshed in the mind than actually the technique. It is going to be crucial to the next phase of the IPL to make sure that the key players are not only fit but in the right frame of mind to be on the field and that is what coaching is all about in so many ways.

On Virender Shewag’s form

He has played exceptional knocks [...] and has been fantastic to watch like the other night [against PWI], and to see the team win like that. We were unlucky in the game against Pune [Warriors India]. He batted really well in the first game and we were on the track to get [the required total], but you have to take chances and play the shots that you do [...].

On working on specific deliveries like S Sreesanth’s slower ball

Those things are not things that you do on instruction. [...] It takes a lot of practice and some guys bowl the exact ball, the knuckle ball, it took him months to be confident enough to bowl it. Irfan is working on a few [variations] but to be in the middle and bowl, it takes a long time. [...] It’s more about taking the tactics and using them at the right time. Also, the wicket [...] [plays a role in it]. We bowled lot of cross-seamed deliveries in Pune because the wicket was a bit drier. This wicket [at Feroz Shah Kotla] has a bit more grass on it, so the slower one wasn’t so effective. Umesh Yadav bowled them and was hit for sixes, so you have to try them; you have to make sure you have used them. But it is about reading the conditions each time.
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