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IPL Staff in Bengaluru 15 April 2013 - 09:30pm IST

Injuries to key players hurt us: Simons

DD coach pleased with young Indian players; has faith in team

In IPL 2012, the Delhi Daredevils stormed into the playoffs and finished table-toppers. This season, however, what they got off to is something they would like to believe a bad dream. Something they would consider a nightmare, four losses in their first four matches.

As they prepare to take on the in-form Royal Challengers Bangalore in their own den, coach, Eric Simons hopes the Daredevils can arrest the losing streak and put their campaign on the radar.

“We’re disappointed with where we are but I’m happy with the attitude towards the position we’re in,” Simons told reporters on the eve of the match in Bangalore. “The guys have stayed positive. It’s all we can do. It’s just a matter of getting that first win under your belt. The morale is good, considering the fact that we have lost four and a lot was expected of us,” Simons said.

A major reason behind DD’s dismal show thus far in IPL 2013 has been them missing star international players. Kevin Pietersen is set to miss out the entire tournament with a knee injury while the team was without the services of Virender Sehwag (back spasm) and Morne Morkel (away playing in South Africa’s domestic T20 competition) for the first couple of matches.

“We lost Kevi, Viru and Morkel for the first two or three games – when you do that, it makes a massive difference. It’s not just that they are big run scorers or wicket-takers, it’s also the nature of their influential personalities and the people they are,” Simons said.

“We’ve also had guys come back from injury. At one stage we literally had a situation where we had seven guys injured. We’ve had bowlers come back from injury – Umesh, Nehra, Irfan and Morne. Last year we started like a house on fire and then tapered off; hopefully it’s the other way around this year,” the coach wistfully hoped.

While ruing the non-availability of the international players, Simons was very pleased with the performance of the young Indian players in the team.

“When the young Indian cricketer is playing among a Pietersen or a Mahela (Jayawardene) they can really blossom and play with freedom. But when they’re expected to be match-winners, it is tough. But Manpreet (Juneja) has come through brilliantly, Unmukt was unlucky to get two first-ballers, Siddharth (Kaul) and (Shahbaz) Nadeem have bowled really well.

The youngsters have done whatever we could expect off them. Only we haven’t landed those finishing blows or we could quite easily be sitting here having won two games and lost two,” Simons said.

The road from here will be a rocky one for the Daredevils as they are up against three of the strongest teams in the league. Simons believes the team has what it takes to turn the tables on them.

“Every game we go into now is going to be a must-win in some shape or form; we accept that. We’ve got RCB, CSK and MI – those are three tough games and we need to come away from them with two wins at least. We understand we’re under pressure but if you don’t enjoy pressure, you shouldn’t be here.”

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