It is an injury plagued Delhi side that will be taking on defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders in the tournament opener at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday. Delhi will be missing out on key players in the tournament and to add to their woes, they will also miss out on their ace bowler Morne Morkel for the first game, who is in South Africa playing a domestic T20 league.
When quizzed on Morkel missing the opener, Delhi Daredevils coach Eric Simons said, “It is a huge loss when you lose someone like a Morne Morkel. When you have a quality player like that, a lot of your game plans revolve around that, it is a loss, but we do believe that we have done really well in between the two IPLs to bring more balance to our squad. So I think this year we can be a lot more innovative with our team selection.”
Delhi might also miss out on the services of their flamboyant opener Virender Sehwag who is a doubtful starter for the first game. “Viru is not in town and we are not sure when he will be here. He has a back spasm and we will take a call on him once he is here.” Explained Simons
“Yes we are missing out on players who we would have loved to have in the side, but this is the perfect opportunity for the youngsters in the side to step up and perform at the grand stage. We have domestic players who can perform well and it is time for them to show their abilities.”
The Daredevils had a good net session this morning at the Eden Gardens and fast bowlers Umesh yadav and Irfan Pathan looked in full flow bowling tirelessly at their batsmen. Both Umesh and Irfan are back after their respective injury concerns and the responsibility of leading the pace attack will be for the duo’s shoulders to bear.
“One of the positives we found in our net session was that Umesh and Irfan bowled well in the last day or so. The fact that they are coming from injuries means that they are also fresh and we would like to take that in our favour. The fact that we have trained well, bowled well, gives us an opportunity to pick different teams for different conditions in the tournament.”
Daredevils’ team mentor TA Sekhar too was of the opinion that the duo will do well and will be up for the challenge. “Injuries are part and parcel of a fast bowler’s game, there is no fast bowler who has had an injury free career. Yadav’s performance in the national T20 showed that he is still bowling well and lost nothing. Irfan too has done a good job in the domestic tournaments picking up wickets consistently. He is an experienced campaigner and I am confident that the bowlers will do a good job.”
Shekhar also applauded the BCCI for their efforts to keep a check on the injured bowlers and ensuring that they were in safe hands.
“BCCI has had a good backup system. Bowlers nowadays are monitored by the best doctors in the business. They get advised, they are checked and instructed well at the NCA. Once a player says he is not fit, he is under the microscope and is told what to do and what not to do.
We as coaches need to keep bowlers fresh and decide which bowler will play which game in order to keep them hundred percent fit. Also, today bowlers are smart and they know to keep themselves in check.”
It will be a new wicket at the Eden that will be put to test in the first game between Delhi and Kolkata and TA Shekhar said his bowlers won’t depend on the wicket for results to come on Wednesday.