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As the race for the IPL 2013 Play-Offs heats up, theMumbai Indianswill be hoping to secure their passage into the next phase by overcoming Pune Warriors India this Saturday.
While the Expressway rivals have had markedly different fortunes this season, MI coach, John Wright, insisted that his team cannot not afford to take PWI lightly.
Wright also emphasised the fact that there are no easy opponents in the IPL and that a bottom-placed team like PWI could also prove quite a handful.
With the tournament getting into the business end, the MI coach said that the team needs to carry forth their exceptional form at home to away games in their bid to get to a comfortable position as far as the Play-Offs are concerned.
Here are excerpts of John Wright’s pre-game presser in Pune:
On the race for the top two spots getting stiffer
We are three-quarters of the way through the tournament. There is still a lot of cricket to play. We have got four matches in a short period of time. And for us, we got a good last week. We have just got to carry that through away from home to play well here. And let us see what happens.
On PWI as opponents
Well, I don’t think there are any easy teams in this competition and some of our games proved that. We know that if you want to do well through the length of this tournament, you have got to play well. We want to get two points out of this game. We want to play well in these conditions. That will help us. I think it is important to respect every team you play against in this competition. If you don’t, it can lead to big trouble. So, let us see, if we start well, either with the bat or ball that will help us.
On his experience as a T20 coach
It is different. I have been enormously impressed with the league as a competitive league. As I said, there are no easy teams and no easy games; there are eight other such teams. We had to fight real hard to get where we are, and we are still going into the last week with no assurances, unless we win games. So there is always pressure for everyone. I have been really impressed with the commitment of the sides and the players. IPL is a tough league. It looks like the nearest thing that cricket has to some of the big football leagues.
On changes in coaching style for this format
I have had to learn. It is different because you don’t know the players you are working with and then get them together in a very short period of time. We have tried doing things that are simple. We have tried giving the players an environment where they can express themselves on the field and keep it really simple. We know that we have got players to win matches and it is just a matter of bonding the team. And if you look at the people that I work with, I have got Ricky (Ponting), I have got Anil (Kumble). We have got a good support crew. We have got Jonty, Robin Singh, who have enormous experience in this league.
On adjusting to conditions in Pune
We have the afternoon game on Saturday, so the wicket is going to be different. We have got some problems to solve. We have been very strong in Mumbai, but these are different conditions, and if we can put it together for Saturday, it will be good for our confidence leading into next week and thereafter.
On experimenting with the line-up
We try and pick our best team. We are not at that stage where we can pick different combinations. The only combination we can look at is to try and get the right combination for the next game.
On Sachin going strong post 40
Well, I think he is past that problematic age of 39 (laughs). Life begins at 40. We were really please with the way he played in the last game – not necessarily the runs he got, but the way he played was good for us. And I think that will be really helpful on slow-wicket conditions.
As the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013 turns towards the business end and the points table starts firming up, theDelhi Daredevils will play their last home game when they take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday.
The franchise, which made it to the Play-Offs last season, has been struggling to cross the finish line in the sixth edition of the premier tournament. After a string of losses they have been in the bottom half of the points table and will be playing for pride in their remaining matches.
The team has however worked hard to put up a fight. While speaking to the media after practice at the Feroz Shah Kotla, pacer Siddharth Kaul who has also got an opportunity to display his skills in the last couple of games said that the team is keen to win and is focusing on playing good cricket.
Asked about keeping themselves motivated and picking up after losses he said, “Every player wants to win and all teams want to win but only one team can win so we keep our focus and give our hundred percent. Sometimes it clicks and sometimes it doesn’t. So all we want to focus on is to play good cricket.”
Speaking about the opportunities that can be given to players he said, “I can’t decided who should be given the chance to play from the bench strength. But a good team is playing and the atmosphere in the team is good and one should also take into consideration see who is playing well... one who is playing well will definitely play”.
Asked of about his own goals and whether he looks forward to being picked for India ‘A’s tour to South Africa and whether he is working towards that, Kaul said, “I treat all games the same. I don’t see too far ahead and my goal is not whether I will play in the Champions Trophy or go on the India ‘A’ tour. My job is to perform and that is what I try to do.”
Asked if the presence of Sir Vivian Richards is benefiting the batters in the side more, the youngster said, “You will note that Sir Viv Richards has a lot of positivism and it spreads to everyone. You can’t say that it he is helping the batsmen or any particular individual. What you should see is how he motivates players, which is better and more beneficial.”
Asked if they will look to beat RCB and make things a little difficult for the opposition as the tournament approaches the Play-Offs, he said, “There is no such thinking. Both teams want to win but only one will win, so we shall be confident and play positively like we have been playing. We haven’t been clicking at times and we have had close games. We go to play not to think about making things difficult for someone else or how it will affect other teams”.
Asked how he has been planning and preparing to bowl to the likes of Chris Gayle and others he said, “He is also a human being. So according to me if you bowl a good ball he will be out and if you bowl a bad ball he will hit you for runs. “ “I will go out there and do what I have been doing and see what the results are!”