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Quinton de Kock, the young South African batsman who is representing the Delhi Daredevils in Pepsi Indian Premier League 2014, spoke to the media ahead of the Delhi franchise’s first match on their home ground, on May 3. Speaking about the team’s campaign so far, he said, “We started off a little slowly in the tournament. We struggled a little bit and lost the first couple of games. But we came back well and we are playing good cricket now. It is good finish off (the UAE leg) on a good note.”
The Daredevils beat defending champions Mumbai Indians in their last game of the UAE leg and will take on the Rajasthan Royals in their first match of the India leg of the tournament. When asked about returning to India, he mentioned, “There is more hype about IPL in India as compared to UAE. I have only been here for a couple of days and yet to experience that. I think I’ll get a taste of it for the first time at (the Ferozeshah) Kotla on Saturday.”
Speaking about his batting, the youngster said, “I don’t think I’ll change my game plan in different tournaments. If there are some corrections required, I’ll do those, but for me it’s important to keep it simple.”
When asked if the batting has under-performed in the five matches so far, he explained, “I don’t think the batting has under-performed. Maybe in the first match a bit. JP Duminy and others have managed to step it up. We almost managed to chase down 190 in one of the matches, so the batting is slowly kicking into gear.”
“I think we are doing better now. We are gelling well as a team,” de Kock said.
While speaking about the environment in DD as compared to Sunrisers (Hyderabad), for whom he played last year, de Kock said, “The environment in the Daredevils is a little bit different than Sunrisers. There were more Australian players in the coaching staff there. Here I feel more at home with guys like Gary (Kirsten) and Rob Walters. Not that it wasn’t very comfortable there, but it is nice to be around familiar faces.”
Asked about the home advantage while playing at Kotla, the batsman said, “As a foreign player this does feel like an away game for me, but looking at the mental aspect, the local players as well as someone like KP (Kevin Pietersen, the DD skipper) will feel more at home here and give a bit of an edge.”
Speaking about the skipper’s reaction to dropped catches, he said, “KP didn’t really scold us; he was actually a little disappointed that we looked lethargic on the field. It’s something that the captain has to do to keep his players in check. He is an unbelievable person. KP is a really chilled out guy. I had never met or spoken to him before. He is very down-to-earth.”
Speaking about the Kotla pitch, he said, “Haven’t had a chance to look at the wicket here. They are still in the process of preparing it. We will have a better idea after our first game.”
After three wins from five matches in the UAE leg of the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2014, the Rajasthan Royals are raring to go in the India leg of the tournament. The Shane Watson-led side will take on the Delhi Daredevils on May 3 at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium in Delhi.
After arriving in Delhi on April 30, the Royals practiced at Kotla on May 1. They will be riding high on confidence after their thrilling win over the Kolkata Knight Riders, which was decided on the basis of the boundary count after even the Super Over couldn’t help pick a winner.
Senior all-rounder Rajat Bhatia attributed the team’s victory to playing smart cricket. When asked about the game, he said, “The best thing about our team is we believe in playing smart cricket rather than playing aggressive cricket. We knew if we score two runs, then we will win the match. When batsmen like Steve Smith and Shane Watson are at the crease, they don’t need to be told. They already knew about the calculations.” He further elaborated that in team meetings the emphasis is always on playing smart cricket. He added, “We always emphasise on playing smart cricket than playing aggressively and without any common sense. I don’t know if KKR knew about the equation, but we knew what we needed to do (to clinch the game)”
Asked to reflect on their achievements in the series so far and whether the team has set and achieved their targets during the UAE leg of the tournament, he said, “To be honest, I don’t think there was any kind of target. All we wanted to do was play good cricket and that’s what we are doing. We have been supported by a few good players and especially by a mentor like Rahul Dravid. We want to play good cricket and automatically that kind of thing brings the best out of you”
Discussing his team and its ethos, Bhatia said, “Every guy in this team is a superstar and that is why they have been picked. If you aren’t a superstar, they wouldn’t have been picked. Everybody is getting their chances and at the back of their mind they know what role they have to play. We have already been told what kind of role we will be playing. Everyone will get their chance.”
Speaking about his role, especially while bowling in the middle overs, Bhatia said, “That’s what I was doing when I was playing for the (Delhi) Daredevils or KKR and that’s what I am doing here, and that’s what I have been picked for. I am doing the best that I can do. I am not here to bowl at 140-150 kph. I am here to give my best and make the batsmen struggle and give away less runs and pick crucial wickets.”
Asked about the difference between the RR dressing room and the others which he has been a part of, he observed, “I think they (RR) are more planned (in their approach), and more systematic. There is a plan behind each and everything, in each and every game. And we have been picked according to that (plan). It's not like we just go to the ground and plan things. It’s done beforehand. So they go according to plan, and some plans are successful and sometimes they won’t work, but it looks to me that things are going according to plan.”
Bhatia, who plays for Delhi in India’s domestic circuit, said, “Obviously, the team will benefit from my experience of playing at Kotla. All teams will now realise that all the matches will be played in India. So all teams need to adapt quickly and do their homework.” “I don’t know what kind of wicket it will be. The wicket has been covered so far. Our job is to adapt to the wicket and try and do well," he said.