We can still make playoffs: Nadeem

DD spinner says his team can win eight on the trot to reach knockouts

By Harsh Kalan
Raipur 27 April 2013
One of the most unlikely failures of IPL 2013 has been that of the Kevin Pietersen-less Delhi Daredevils. Despite having other big names in their ranks, the capital city franchise has barely managed to post two points on the board, thanks to a long-awaited home win.

Now, with half the season behind them, spinner Shahbaz Nadeem is still optimistic of a late flurry from the Mahela Jayawardene-led team. During a pre-game media interaction in Raipur, the left-armer said that while batting was an area of concern, the sheer ability of the collective DD squad could still pull off an unlikely spot in the playoffs.

Nadeem also talked about the positive influence of cricketing legends Sir Viv Richards and Mushtaq Ahmed on a side that is struggling beyond reason.
Excerpts from his press conference:

On DD’s overall performance so far in IPL 2013

In all our matches so far, you will see that our bowlers have performed very well. Our concern is in the batting department, where we have not been able to score much. In the last few matches, the bowling group has done really well.

But on the whole, this is a team sport and involves batting and bowling. Both our bowling and batting was good in the game that we won. And Viru Bhai batted very well. He and Jayawardene gave us a great start. So, if we get a good start from our batting unit in the first 6, 7, 8 overs, it will be helpful for our bowling and fielding. We will have better chances of winning then.

Whether playing PWI after their big loss against RCB will give DD an advantage

There is an advantage if you are playing a team that has lost its last game, especially a game that was one-sided where the whole world saw Chris Gayle hitting out. So their confidence will be low and we can take advantage of that, because our batting and bowling units combined, forms a very good team.

I can just say that it is bad luck due to which we have not been able to do well this season. We had almost the same side last season and we did very well – we reached the knockouts. But there is that one thing, our batting has not clicked. And not just our batting, but as a team we have not clicked yet. There is that particular time when a team battles with form and needs that one match that can reverse its fortunes. There is that one special player who could be out of form and also needs that one match to get back into form. As a team, even we feel that we just need one match to bounce back. After that we will be able to do well.

On Kevin Pietersen’s absence

Pietersen is a very renowned batsman; one of the better ones in the world. And last year, thanks to him, the middle order had a lot of strength. When we used to get a good start, Pietersen used to come in later and play the role of a finisher. His absence does make a bit of a difference. But that does not mean the rest of our batsmen are not capable. They are also neck and neck with him. I just hope they get back into form and do well.

On spinners’ role in the T20 format

I will say spinners have learnt to bowl better in this format, because we watch videos of different batsmen before the match and we work on it. As far as I am concerned I’m working on that. If I am going to bowl in any particular match, before that I would love to see videos of players, mainly the key batsmen. I work on it and I keep it at the back of my mind when I am bowling. Things like a batsman’s weak point, his strongest area, etc. So, I try and bowl on the weaker side of that batsman. That is a must for every spinner, I think.

On Sir Viv Richards’ inclusion in the DD set-up

No batsman in the world is immediately going to change just because of someone’s presence. But if we spend more time with him, we are bound to improve. With him we are always trying to gain from his vast knowledge and his ideas. It acts as a moral support for us. He is such a great batsman, who has been knighted. Just his presence is enough to boost our players. As a result of his presence all the batsmen in our line-up are feeling more confident.

On Raipur debuting as an IPL venue

I am from Jharkhand. And in Jharkhand, in Ranchi, there is a newly-built stadium. So, I am finding this place similar to that. Ranchi also has a ground around which there is nothing. So, for me it is similar to my hometown. It is really fantastic that these small towns are growing as cricket venues. With these stadiums in smaller towns, junior players from these areas can also get motivated.

On IPL as a platform for promoting local talent

It is a great opportunity for youngsters like me and the rest of the guys. This is a platform where you can perform well and you can come into the eye of the selectors or senior players. The main thing is that IPL is live on TV; there the whole world can see what you are doing and what you are capable of. So, it is a good thing for youngsters.

On bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed

There are many things in spin bowling; like your action, the rotation of the ball and what you have to bowl in a particular situation and what you are going to bowl to a particular batsman. So, I think Mushi Bhai is helping me a lot. As far as I am concerned whatever I have achieved this season, I give all credit to him. And Allah for, he has sent me a coach who can help me each and every time. He is a good motivator too.

Whether he or any other bowler could have stopped Chris Gayle when he scored 175*

On that particular day, I don’t think so. Each batsman has a particular day when they perform, whatever they hit stays hit. That was his day.

Whether spinners are a wicket-taking option in T20 cricket

Mostly spinners bowl from the eighth to 16th overs. Some rare spinners bowl in the death. So, in that situation, the main thing for spinners is to take wickets. If they can take wickets between the eighth and 16th overs, that will be beneficial for the team. At that particular time, batsmen will think of building partnerships.

Whether DD is still hoping to qualify for the playoffs after a 1-7 start to IPL 2013 or are they just trying to spoil the party for other teams

No, no. Every time we get on the ground, we have to play to win, that is our whole motive and still eight matches are left. And the one team that can win eight matches in a row is the Delhi Daredevils, because we have a very good batting line-up and a very good bowling unit too. In some of the matches we were about to win, but we lost. So, it depends upon luck also, but we are working hard nowadays and we are thinking that we can do this – winning eight matches on the trot. 
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