‘Didn’t assess the conditions well enough’ – Dravid
The Delhi Daredevils batsmen were at a loss for ideas out on the field in Mohali and their mentor Rahul Dravid was at a loss for words in the press conference. His team was bowled out for 67 – their lowest total in IPL – and Kings XI Punjab beat them with 10 wickets and 73 balls to spare.
“Really disappointing… I don’t know… there’s not much to say,” Dravid said amid long pauses, perhaps recalling how his team struggled endlessly on a pitch that was slower than normal. “We were really poor and we didn’t bat particularly intelligently on that kind of wicket. We didn’t assess the conditions well enough and we didn’t give ourselves a chance.
Sandeep Sharma, on the other hand, did realise the opportunity that lay underfoot. He concentrated on bowling a tight line and hitting a good length, demanding the batsmen play on the up. Those shots had been so very easy in the Mohali of two days ago, when the match took place under lights. But now a dry surface, baking under the afternoon sun, the ball kept stopping on the batsman.
“Normally you see Sandeep swings the ball a lot but I think he quickly figured the wicket was slightly on the slower side and so he bowled wicket to wicket and hit the right lengths,” Dravid said. “I think the key for him really was the length. That sort of forced our batsmen to play some shots and we hit the ball in the air a lot which was not a wise thing to do so much on a slow wicket.”
Daredevils came to Mohali with a four-match losing streak and desperately wanted to break it. “It was going to be a defining week for us,” Dravid said. “It hasn’t started particularly well. Hopefully we can go to Delhi and turn it around.”
To do so, they might need to sort out the kinks in their batting line-up. Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, Karun Nair and Rishabh Pant make up the top five and they have only ten international caps between them.
Dravid, however, had a counter to that criticism. “But they’ve been playing the IPL for a while now,” he said. “Most of them have shown glimpses of good performances in this tournament and in the past as well. So really its going to be up to us and then themselves to lift ourselves up after this and really go out and try and play good cricket and not think too far ahead, try and focus on the next game and put in, definitely, a much better performance.”
The other talking point was the out-of-form Karun Nair assuming captaincy of the team with Zaheer Khan injured.
“Obviously last year’s vice-captain JP [Duminy] isn’t here and Quinton [de Kock] isn’t here as well, so we had decided that Karun would be the person who would take over the captaincy and we stuck with that,” Dravid said. “There are times when people are going to run out of form. Whether you’re the captain or vice-captain sometimes you run out of form. It happens. That’s not a reflection on his captaincy. Still he’s led junior teams and he’s led quite well. Nothing much he can do when you don’t put enough runs on the board.”
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