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IPL Staff in Kolkata 04 April 2012 - 07:41pm IST

IPL is not a sprint: Simmons

Delhi Daredevils coach says CSK and MI are favourites

 Delhi Daredevils are set to play their first match of DLF IPL 2012 against local favourites Kolkata Knight Riders. The team has a whole new look to it this season, but with a number of their big stars still on international duty, much of the burden of the team’s success in the initial stages of the tournament will fall mostly on Virender Sehwag.

DD head coach Eric Simmons caught up with the media to answer all queries regarding team preparations ahead of the start of the 2012 campaign. Excerpts from the press conference:

On their opponents, the Kolkata Knight Riders

If you look at all the sides in the IPL, there are few teams who are favourites. Every team has got match-winners. The nature of T20 cricket is if a match-winner plays [the whole game] out then he can solely win the game for his team. They [KKR] are a well-balanced side. They are certainly looking to do well this year.

On the favourites before the start of the tournament


Chennai looked to have strengthened their side with the inclusion of Ravindra Jadeja. They have done well in all the IPLs. Mumbai too have strengthened their side with their new acquisitions like Pragyan Ojha. At the outset, the two sides stand out as the favourites for the balance and depth of their squads.

On the absence of the international names in the DD squad currently


We expected Ross [Taylor] to be here as we knew that Mahela [Jayawardene] and [Kevin] Pietersen would not be available. But he was hit by one of the teammates [Morne Morkel]. That's the nature of the IPL. You have to chart your ways through. It's disappointing though.

On the key to winning the IPL


The IPL is not a sprint. It's like a marathon in some respects. You have to peak at the right time. I hope that's going to happen.

On DD’s spin attack

The only thing we lack is lack is a big name; someone with reputation. We have worked really hard with the players we got. We have got some exciting guys. We have got Roelf van der Merwe, obviously with some international experience. He is key for us. We have got [Shahbaz] Nadeem and [Pawan] Negi. There are few ideas and thoughts, which we would like to use in our spin department to surprise the teams. I think we have a capable bunch of spinners.

On battles within the battle – Yusuf vs Irfan and Gambhir vs Sehwag


I think IPL is an incredible tournament; an exciting place to play cricket, exactly for those reasons. You have brothers [playing] against each other; great friends in Gauti [Gautam Gambhir] and Viru [Virender Sehwag] in opposite camps. [It’s] a great place to nurture young cricketers.

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