Calcutta: The Delhi DareDevils were a force to reckon with in IPL 2012 with their power-packed batting line-up and young, fiery pace attack. Given the balance of their team, they’re one of the main contenders in CLT20 2012, in South African conditions.
While their core group that helped them top the IPL 2012 table is intact, there’s a change in leadership for this tournament.
Mahela Jayawardene, who recently stepped down from Sri Lanka’s T20 captaincy after the defeat in the final of 2012 World Twenty20, has taken over the DareDevils’ reins from Virender Sehwag.
Ahead of their first match of the tournament, against the Kolkata Knight Riders, Jayawardene said, the CLT20 will help him to move on from the World T20 loss to West Indies.
“It’s good that I’m back into the thick of things quickly, with a different set of players. It took me a couple of days to get over the World Twenty20 loss, but since the time I’ve been here, it’s been good.”
Sri Lanka lost the final to the West Indies in the final at the Premadasa. Marlon Samuels was the man of the match.
Besides DD’s top order comprising Sehwag, Jayawardene, Kevin Pietersen and David Warner, the team’s USP in the IPL was their fast bowling led by the tournament’s highest wicket-taker, Morne Morkel.
Asked about the secret behind Morkel’s success with the DareDevils, Jayawardene said: “In IPL he had a good start. For us he becomes the leader of the attack and I don’t know if that sense of added responsibility drives him to be more aggressive while having a good control. We, at DD, have given him a very free hand to be aggressive and go for wickets.”
He also had words of praise for Irfan Pathan and termed him as “the most improved bowler in the last year or so, both in domestic and international cricket.”
While admitting Morkel will play a huge role in his home conditions, Jayawardene refused to put too much pressure on him.
“I think everyone complements each other very well. Umesh Yadav has played a bit of cricket and Irfan has been around for a while. They all feed off each other. We’d rather go about as a bowling group and batting group rather than put pressure on one guy.”
The captain also had good words to say about the man he’s replacing at the helm, Virender Sehwag. “Viru is a very easygoing guy; I’ve known him for quite some time. He enjoys his cricket. He takes a bit of criticism for the way he bats but that’s the nature of the beast.
“That’s how he plays and we want him to continue to do that. He’s had a tough time in the last couple of years with injuries and stuff. But we know the quality of the player and you back him to deliver that.
“In the dressing room too, he’s brilliant. He’s really helpful to the young guys in the team and they all look up to him.”