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DD coach pleased with young Indian players; has faith in team
By IPL Staff
Bengaluru 15 April 2013
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.”
Although they kicked off the tournament with a superb win, Kings XI Punjab has not been able to repeat the performances in their last two games. The Adam Gilchrist-led side have been let down by the batting department in their last two matches; against the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. When they take on defending champions, the Kolkata Knight Riders in their second home game on Tuesday afternoon, KXIP will have to step up their game.
The captain and coach have both acknowledged the shortcomings and are keen to iron out the creases and ensure that they return to the winning ways. Asked if they would be making any changes to the side when they face the Gautam Gambhir-led team at the PCA Stadium, coach, Darren Lehmann said that they would be considering changes but will be making their final decisions after taking a look at the wicket tomorrow.
“I think we will change the team. It was disappointing (loss). Last night (against RR) I think we bowled really well again and we have done that in two out of three games, so the bowling is quite fine; it is the batting that has let us down a little bit . I think we were probably 20 runs short last game on a wicket that did a little bit.”
So would the likes of David Miller or Luke Pomersbach find a place in the playing eleven? “I think one of them would play. We need to make more runs. I think one of them would play yes, but until we get a look at the wicket it is hard to say what we are going to go with. We will make our decision tomorrow”
It was poor shot selection that let the team down in both their losses, an area that the Kings would be looking to work on. The coach added that they have discussed about that.
He told the media, “Yes very much we have spoken about that in both the games. The batters know that they have let us down I suppose, but that is everyone, the whole squad, we never single out any person individually.”
“We are just not sticking to the game plan that we set out before we play at the moment. We are playing good in patches, probably better with the ball and in the field and the batting just slipped in this. And probably poor execution more than anything else… so we just have to get better. Once we get that right we will win some games. We got to do that in a hurry. It would be nice to get a win at home for fans as well,” Lehmann elaborated.
The skipper who is an important cog in the line-up and has not fired so far too will be looking to turn things around. “We expect more from everyone. We haven’t had a fifty in the competition I think, no one has made a 50… full stop. Gilly is part of that, he is a top six batsman and he knows he has got to get some runs. He played well in the first game. He has obviously played very well and led very well.”
The team did not bat their quota of twenty overs in the last two matches, an area of concern. Speaking about the concern, the KXIP coach said, “That has been the most disappointing thing. Not to bat 20 overs and lose ten wickets twice in less than 20 overs is disappointing. I do not blame the lower-order batsman at all for that. We know as a batting group that we have to get better as a whole.”
“Last night, we missed out on seven balls. If we had got a boundary and a single every ball after that it would have been another ten runs. I would love to have a crystal ball and give you the answers but they have been working hard and they are doing that and they are great young kids and you just got to find the right balance,” he added.
Speaking about the youngsters in the side, Lehmann said, “What is exciting for me is that they are really good players as young guys. They are as talented as I have seen in India. The challenge for them is not to think too far ahead of themselves and actually play as they do in patches.
But on a more consistent basis? And for the experienced blokes to help them out… that is our role as coaches as well. I am excited about them actually. When you are leaving a guy like Paul Valthaty out, now that is a tough call. It means that the younger guys are developing well enough. We have got some depth, I think it comes down to mixing the experienced blokes and the younger guys together and if we can do that well enough then we will be fine.”
So how does he boost the confidence of the inexperienced young players in the side and help regroup them after back-to-back losses?
Lehmann said, “They are good players, it’s a big stage, the IPL. So they are going to be nervous. The thing is they are young, they need to keep it simple, go out and play their game and most importantly enjoy the game because there is a lot of pressure that comes from outside, from the media and IPL itself.”
Speaking about their opponents, Lehmann mentioned, “KKR are a very good side all around. We hope to put some pressure on them and make some more runs. They have got a good bowling attack. We will have to be at our best and play well and put them under pressure early. It will be the key at the start of the game well.”