We can qualify for playoffs: Simons

Delhi Daredevils coach talks about the road ahead for the table-toppers

By IPL Staff
Jaipur 30 April 2012
After beating the Rajasthan Royals at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium yesterday, table-toppers Delhi Daredevils will once again take them on at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here. Ahead of this match, DD coach Eric Simons addressed the media.

Excerpts from his press-conference:

On the availability of David Warner

Dave is not here. He had to go home for personal reasons. […] Even if he had flown in, I don’t think it would have been wise to select him tomorrow. Whether he would have been picked in the four international batsmen is debatable anyway. We expect him to be available for the next game on May 7.

On yesterday’s match

As a team, we feel we didn’t necessarily win that game, and I am sure Rajasthan [Royals] feel they [actually] lost it. It wasn’t an easy wicket to score on. We would have wanted to score 20-25 runs more to put pressure on them. If Rajasthan Royals look back at the game, captain [Rahul] Dravid did say they should have finished the game early. That’s one area where we were able to exploit it. […] It was always going to be a situation, if we had a good over or four-five dot balls, [then] they were going to be under pressure.

On the turning point of that match

Morne [Morkel] bowled an exceptional [penultimate] over and that’s what turned the match on its head. Umesh [Yadav] also bowled a very good over, baring that six, which was an incredible shot by Ajinkya.

On DD’s winning streak

When you have won seven games, it’s tough to win consistently in T20 format. [...] Our batting has done well at times; our bowling has done well at times. Yesterday, we would have wanted to have scored 20 more runs. That’s just one run extra per over. We just need to ensure we have wickets in hand in the last five-six overs.

On DD being the table-toppers and their chances of qualifying for the playoffs

We have a good chance. You are looking at eight-nine wins. We need one or two more wins to be considering that we are through. [...] Probably the most balanced side is Chennai [Super Kings]. They haven’t performed to [their] potential, but sometimes when you go through a tough process to qualify that makes the team tougher. They would be a tough opposition any game. Even Kolkata [Knight Riders] are playing better and better cricket. At the start, I had said that Mumbai [Indians] and Chennai [Super Kings] are the two toughest sides.

On Virender Sehwag’s batting

Viru played an exceptional knock. He has done it under pressure in previous seasons too. One of the things that is amazing about him is that on wickets that everyone seems to be struggling, he is able to play strokes and dominate attacks they way he does. The way he plays allowed us to get a decent total, and he set up the game for us yesterday.

On the fast bowlers and spinners in the team

This season, the seamers have done more than they have done in the past. Spinners will play a bigger role as the tournament goes on as the wickets start getting drier. Last year, lot more spin bowlers were leading wicket-takers. [...] The curators have tended to leave more grass on the wickets to be able to prepare the wicket for longer periods of time.

On the arrival of Shane Watson in the Rajasthan Royals team

[The presence of] Watson will be a massive difference to Rajasthan as he is experienced and is almost like a dual player. It’s like getting two players – a batsman and a bowler – for the price of one. [Michael] Clarke might play as a pure batsman for Pune [Warriors India]. With international cricketers, like KP [Kevin Pietersen], Mahela [Jayawrdene], Ross [Taylor], Morne [Morkel], Roelof [van der Merwe], they contribute off the field as well.

For young Rajasthan players, they have someone like Watson in the side, who will make a big difference for what he brings to the side including, the experience he has [and] the information he brings in.
The Australians have come off a good win in the West Indies and they will be in a good mental space. But they will have to adapt soon as [they] are coming in the middle of the tournament.

On the IPL

I find IPL an incredibly dynamic place to work. It’s exciting. As a coach, you are learning [with] every match. You need to be one step ahead of the opposition. This season is different from last season. It was a privilege to be involved with Team India as the bowling coach; it had different challenges. But I am enjoying what I am doing now.

On the bowlers in the tournament

I told that bowlers would come back in the tournament. The bowlers are a lot calmer and have gotten used to [the fact] that they might go for eight runs an over. The curators have left a little more grass on the wickets as they need to have good contests and need to have wickets that last the tournament. Even with low scores, in T20 it’s still very exciting.

We talk about processes. If you bowl a perfect yorker and you get an inside edge past the fine leg for a four, you can only do your job. That’s often what happens in situations. The reaction is to the result. Sometimes we will play a good game and lose, and sometimes like last night, we probably didn’t deserve to win may be. We will not have to [get] carried away with the outcome and concentrate on the process.

On Shabaz Nadeem

When I met Shahbaz as a coach a couple of years ago, you could see it in his eyes; his confidence and his self belief. When you see that, you know you have something special. I am not surprised the way he has done so well. You can name 10-15 players who have developed over the last five years of the IPL because of the international players around them.

On Ajinkya Rahane

I worked with Ajinkya in the Indian side. I know how he bats and what his strengths and weaknesses are. It’s tremendous to see how he has grown as a player. He has got runs consistently. Working with Rahul Dravid definitely has been tremendous for him, and will help his development. We have plans for him, but sometimes you put the best plans [forward] and the batsmen counter it as they know what you are planning.
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